James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra
Middle grade adventure, Fantasy
Alongside his friends Ben and Mary Forester, James Clyde must protect a powerful diamond from falling into the wrong hands. A strange and sinister man dressed in black is also pursuing the diamond and will stop at nothing to obtain it. James and his friends set off on a perilous journey to return the diamond to its rightful place. But they are being hunted every step of the way by the relentless man in black and his blood-thirsty army. Outnumbered, James finds he must use the power of the diamond to escape their clutches - or become another victim of their murderous quest. So begins a journey that will transport them to an alternative world where they must confront the mysterious man in black for a final, winner-takes-all battle...
So for those of you missing Narnia and Harry Potter, this is probably your book. In Diamonds of Orchestra you have your orphan, magical land, lost king, evil queen, special powers and of course, a prophecy:)
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I count myself among those nostalgic for boy-and-his-friends-on-a-magical-adventure. Also, the pacing of the book was great- always moving, always action. However, I did have my nitpicks.
For one, I didn't buy into the whole natural swordsman thing. He can be talented, but at 11 and his first time he shouldn't be able to best a master. Another was that I didn't feel we got enough of the backstory- who is Queen Abigail and why is she so power hungry? What about all those stories Wilmore used to tell the kids about Orchestra? And why did Wilmore deposit James in an orphanage in the first place?
It wasn't enough to put me off though- I guess there will be more filling in in the sequel;) Which reminds me- I liked the ending a lot. There was just enough to get me interested in reading book 2, but not enough that would get me annoyed that the book couldn't stand alone at all.
Have a great day and a wonderful last week of summer!