4 out of 4 stars
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Two years ago, I read and reviewed a copy of Hank Ellis' new book, The Promise. When I saw that he had a sequel, The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts, I was excited to have the opportunity to review it. I remembered the first book being intriguing, and I am happy that the story continued.
In the previous story, Peter and David Wilson, two young brothers, discover a mysterious and magical cave when exploring near their home. They meet interesting people and make amazing discoveries. At the end of the book, the reader finds out more about the meaning of these findings. In the second book, more adventures and new characters await Peter and David, as they begin to discover exciting supernatural abilities that they possess. Throughout the book, they are taken on even more adventures than they had in the first story.
As I said when I reviewed the first book, this story has very strong Narnia vibes. It definitely has its own uniqueness, but it has many of the same aspects of the supernatural mixed with reality and life lessons, along with symbolism. I would not call this a religious story, but like Narnia, it has some Christian symbolism, such as referring to a Maker, and lessons learned that have deep value.
I really like the characters of Peter and David. I feel like their characters have strongly developed throughout the two books. There is definitely a coming-of-age theme woven throughout the story, and I think the author has done a great job of developing their characters and personalities. Peter and David seem very genuine and relatable. I love the balance that is created between their normal life at home and the supernatural experiences that they encounter. Just as in the first book, I loved that they portrayed kids who were adventurous and not just engrossed in electronics, as many are in today's world.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the different cultures that it involved. Many of the boys' adventures involved being in various countries. There was a particular emphasis on Brazil in this book. There were several new characters that were connected to South America, and I enjoyed the many references to their culture, as well as other places that were visited throughout the two books.
As I got near the end, I could not stop reading. I was engrossed in the story to the very end. The character development was very heartwarming, and I definitely feel like there is reason for another installment in this series. I don't know if it is the author's intention, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the series continue, and I am hopeful that it does.
This is an amazing series that deserves recognition. It is probably geared toward the pre-teen age group, but I believe anyone who is a kid at heart will enjoy these books, especially those who love stories with magical realism and coming-of-age themes. The books definitely need to be read in order. I would not read the second book until reading the first. In my last review, I made a comment that there were a few parts that dragged in the first story, but the plot definitely picks up in the second book. The first story has a lot of background information and discoveries being made, though, so it is very important in order to understand the development of the characters.
I highly recommend this book and series. I am rating it 4 out of 4 stars. I can't find anything negative to say about it. If you love adventure and supernatural, check out this series!
The Promise: Discovering Their Gifts
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