Recommendation: Highly Recommended
This fantastical story begins with a lot of intrigue and mystery and as it unfolds you gradually come to understand what is happening. As Owen learns that his father has secrets, and has his eyes opened by "The Book of the King" he is transported into a whole new world that he never knew existed. A new world that is mysterious and dangerous, and yet as he continues on his journey he suddenly feels a purpose and understanding to his life like never before.
Positives: Another well-written beginning to a series that is sure to be a hit among young readers. I thoroughly enjoyed the mysterious side, and it kept me reading, but also loved the obvious Scripture references and Christian themes throughout. My 10 year old was reluctant to begin reading it, but we have since ordered the next several books in the series! This book is comparable to a modern day Chronicles of Narnia. The recommended reading age of 10-14 is about perfect. Children much younger than 10 may not be able to grasp the spiritual implications behind the story. There are also descriptions of some hideous beasts (dragons and such) that may not be appropriate for younger readers.
Negatives: While the ending does leave you with questions, I didn't feel an intense desire to read the next book in the series immediately.
Talking Points: I would be sure to have a discussion with my child about this book. As I spoke with my 10-year old about the book there were spiritual implications, important lessons, he had missed. Discuss who the different characters in the story may represent (The King, The Dragon). Take the time to look up the Scriptures referenced in The Book of the King to show your child the connection. Talk about how Owen felt when he read The Book and what that means for us. Also, talk about God's sovereignty in our life - how He has placed us exactly where and when and with whom he wants us and about His desires for us to live a life that honors him.
Age Level: 9-12 year olds