I believe that The Sapphire Flute, Book 1 of The Wolfchild Saga by Karen E. Hoover is a story which will capture the imagination of Young Adult readers, male and female, although it may appeal to girls a little more. I am not sure where I read this, but somebody compared this story to the works of Terry Brooks. Having been a huge fan of the Shannara series as a youth, I immediately seized on that idea. And I agree!
There are a few parallels with the Shannara series, but they are not readily noticeable, and The Sapphire Flute remains quite unique. I personally thought it was a very enjoyable read, and a great fit for the mainstream Fantasy genre.
My strongest praise for the book, however, comes not just because the book is well written, with likable characters who you can root for, and a creative magic system on Rasann, but because the book is CLEAN. I have read a fair amount of modern fantasy yarns, and many of them resort to graphic descriptions of sex or lust to interest their readers. Not so with The Sapphire Flute. This is a book I would allow my youngest daughter and my youngest son to read.
In fact, I did have one of my older daughters read it, and she said, “Dad! It was amazing!”
That is high praise from a girl who reads a lot!
My only gripes with the book: I thought the story moved a bit fast in some scenes. That doesn’t bother me much, however, because I can see that it is really two, almost separate stories following two main characters, their stories woven together. It just makes the reader have to pay close attention in order to keep things straight. The second disappointment is also minor, and is related to the first. From the beginning of the story, the reader knows that these two young ladies are going to cross paths. But they never quite do. Or at least not in this first book of the series. I will just have to wait for the sequel!
From the book:
It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.
In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother’s wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father’s secret–a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father’s greatest enemy.
At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C’Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls’ paths are set on a collision course…a course that C’Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.
Publisher: Valor Publishing Group, LLC (March 16, 2010)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: 370 Language: English
Karen’s blog: http://karen-hoover.blogspot.com
Valor Publishing (where you can order a copy): http://www.valorpublishinggroup.com/Books/the-sapphire-flute.php
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher, the same publishing company which is publishing my own novel. In fact, my book and Karen’s book are being released on the same day. But, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, even though I do like Karen, and will probably have to sit next to her at some future book signing. If I would have hated the book, I would have withdrawn from the Virtual Book Tour, and not done a review!