Scrolls of Zndaria: The Golden Wizard – An Honest Review

Scrolls of Zndaria

J S Jaeger

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zndariaJoin Nathanial “Nate” McGray, the fifteen-year-old son of the king’s woodsman, on an unforgettable adventure. He is determined to be the first peasant to become a wizard in the magical world of Zndaria. Wedged in a sticky spot, Nate is saved from the town bullies by a mysterious elf named Blinkly. Together, Nate and Blinkly embark on a journey to the Halls of Magic. Along the way, they encounter vicious Dread Vikings, deadly bounty hunters, and a deranged beast. Just as Nate begins to learn magic, the Infinite Wizard and a devilish army attack his Kingdom. Will Nate become a wizard? Can he save his Kingdom? The story unfolds in Scrolls of Zndaria–Scroll One: The Golden Wizard.


This is a difficult book for me to review, not for any bad reason, but because the target audience is ages 9-12 and I am definitely not in that group so it wasn’t easy to look at it from the view of a much younger person.

The story is decent, if undemanding, and likely to appeal to those children not yet old enough to cope with Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. The central character of Nate is pleasant, and well-enough written for the genre and intended target audience, though if I’m honest I thought he was younger than the book’s description says and I think it might be hard for such a young audience to relate to an older character.

I won’t spoil anything by giving away plot points but there was one that I think might upset some readers; fortunately it was handled well enough that it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

If there was one thing that disappointed me, it was the limited exposure given to Demon, I would have liked to see more of this interesting-looking creature. I have hopes that he will turn up again in the next book, and person feature a little more.

Overall I’d say this is a 3* read for adults, there isn’t enough depth to maintain interest in a more sophisticated reader – it being a series I may have to read the next book simply because I don’t like not knowing how a series ends – and a possible 4* for those in its target audience; I suspect 9-12-year-olds will really enjoy it.

Dragonsdawn

Today’s review is for Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey. This is the story of how humans came to the planet of Pern and how the dragons that protect them came to be.

Dragonsdawn

Anne McCaffrey

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A group of humans, desperate to escape the technological and technocratic society they live in, not to mention a recent war that ravaged their planets, travel to the planet Pern on the edge of known space to make a new start and build a civilization that relies less on technology and more on humanity.

tumblr_inline_nmzltnatvj1rylcqa_250To begin with everything goes well, with only minor hiccups along the way to them achieving their goal, but several years after landing and starting their colony disaster strikes; without warning they are subjected to a mysterious rain, a rain that eats everything carbon based it touches, a rain that falls again and again.

There is no escape, the ships that brought them can’t take them away again, they must stay and defend themselves, and so begins a project to alter the native flying lizards and develop a self-reproducing means of surviving – the dragons of Pern.

This is a great novel with some wonderful characters, people I really care about. It doesn’t go into as much detail as it could about the mechanics of establishing a colony on a far off planet, but that’s good because it focuses instead on the characters, how they interact with one another and their new home, the joy of discovery and the pleasure of living a better life. In the second half the story changes as the colony has to fight for survival.

Anne McCaffrey does a great job of bringing out the best and worst of people as they react to the threat, and I can’t help thinking that what she describes must have been influenced in part by the way Great Britain faced the blitz during WW2.

Overall the best thing I can say about this book is that even after repeated readings I still tear up at the death of one of the main characters. To me that’s the sign of a great writer.