By: A.R. Silverberry
Publisher: Tree Tunnel Press
Publication Date: March 2010
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: April 18, 2010
There’s a new book that has just hit bookstores and if you’re a fan of teen fantasy, you’ll want to grab a copy and get reading – it won’t take you long to get lost in the magical world of Aerdem.
Author A.R. Silverberry’s debut novel is a tale of mystery, suspense, heroes and most importantly, heroines. The action picks up on the first few pages where we meet Jenren, the princess of Aerdem. Jenren, or Jen to her friends, is enjoying a run through the kingdom when she is given a whispered warning in the wind. Something bad is going to happen. But what?
Jen rushes home to her parents, the King and Queen. Together with her brother Dash, and her best friend (and brother’s fiancée), Bit, they discuss what the warning may have meant. Jen believes it signifies the return of Naryfel, an evil queen who is determined to hurt Jen’s family. The King dismisses the warning and then decides that he, and his family, will attend Count Pompahro’s party, a combined coming out party for Lady Vieveeka and birthday party for Dash. But things don’t go as expected and soon Jen and her mother are kidnapped and Dash and the King are entombed in an odd growth of magical branches that nobody can destroy without killing the prisoners.
At this point, Wyndano’s Cloak follows two separate stories, that of Jen and her mother and a second adventure involving shy Bit and Countess Petunia. While Jen tries to both escape and rescue her mother, Bit sets out to find the only doctor who might be able to help the King and Dash.
Jen, a strong-willed young woman, falls into the clutches of Naryfel, but with the help of an industrious young man she nicknames Blue, is able to escape. Devastated at leaving her mother behind, Jen soon hears screams coming from Naryfel’s camp. The young woman is determined to return to once again attempt a rescue. Will Blue be able to stop Jen from falling back into the hands of Naryfel and find another way to rescue Jen’s mother?
Meanwhile, the doctor Bit must find lives in the “Plain World” a dismal, ugly place, devoid of magical charms. Accompanying her is Petunia, or Pet, to those who know her. While sweet, loving Bit thinks Pet truly cares about the cause of saving the King, Pet only cares for herself. The selfish countess has agreed to accompany shy Bit because her father, the Count, insisted. He too, is quite selfish and wants to see the king die so that he can have more power. He has ordered Petunia to make sure Bit does not succeed in her quest.
Wyndano’s Cloak had something exciting happening on just about every page. With chapters bouncing between Jen’s and Bit’s mission, the reader is kept in constant suspense. A chapter would end with a cliffhanger, but that story would not pick up for another chapter or two. Meanwhile, the previous nail-bitter would resume forcing ever longer readings to see what would happen.
The character development in Wyndano’s Cloak is what will likely draw many young readers to the story. Jen and Blue may appear brave and daring but they each struggle with uncertainty, while Naryfel is deliciously evil and conniving. But it is the relationship between Bit and Pet that took center stage for me. I believe many readers, particularly young girls, will identify with Bit, a shy young woman who has overcome much but still sees herself as not worthy of the Prince’s affection. As she struggles with her poor self-esteem, and Pet plots how to foil the journey, the two stumble upon an orphanage that is reminiscent of a scene from a Dickens novel. The metamorphosis that spoiled, bratty Pet undergoes comes to a head at this unlikely stop and helps build this character into somebody the reader may want to cheer for.
Quill says: Wyndano’s Cloak is the type of novel that is too long to read in one sitting but is impossible to put down. You’re going to be very tired in the morning!
For more information on Wyndano's Cloak, please visit the author's website at: ARSilverberry.com