Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Slathbog's Gold by M.L. Forman

Do you have the courage, the wits, and the skill to claim a dragon's hoard? If so, apply within ...

The sign is small, tucked into the corner of Mr. Clutter's bookshop window: "Adventurers Wanted. Apply Within." No one but fifteen-year-old Alex Taylor even seems to notice it is there. And for Alex, who has wished for a change in his life, it is an irresistible invitation.

Upon entering Mr. Clutter's shop, Alex is swept away on an incredible adventure to a faraway land filled with heroic warriors, mysterious elves, and hard-working dwarves.
Alex becomes the eigth man in a band of adventurers seeking the lair of Slathbog the Red - and evil dragon with a legendary treasure. Along the way, Alex and his new friends must battle dangerous trolls and bandits, face undead wraiths, and seek the wisdom of the Oracle in her White Tower.
Alex's adventure takes him to distant and exotic lands where he learns about courage, integrity, honor, and, most importantly, friendship.

As far as Middle Grade books go, this one was one of my favorites. Keep in mind that this book is geared for a younger audience. There was no romance (darn.), not very much real danger, and minimal conflict. Everyone is smiley. Seriously. I can count on one hand how many times someone actually got mad in this book. However, for a middle-school aged boy or girl, this is just an exciting adventure.

I loved all of the characters. Really, there's not a single person that I recall not liking as I read this book. They were all quite unique and well written, and I really enjoyed the interactions between them all. I liked the themes throughout the book also. The biggest ones, for me, were integrity and honesty. They all live by the honor system. They split all they have among the group, and they don't keep any secrets among their little "band of adventurers". As I read, I kept thinking, "Do you know how easy it would be for a liar or thief among them to swindle them out of treasure?" But none of them ever did. I really liked that. As I enjoyed a great story, I had important values reinforced. I was impressed, since so many young people these days really need that.

If I had to describe this book to you, in a nutshell, I would say it's like Lord of the Rings for kids. I'd highly recommend it, whether you are young or old-- because either way, you'll enjoy it.

Happy Reading!

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