The Silver Strand
The Silver Strand is the first book in the Mastermind Series, created by L.J. Clarkson. The book is targeted to 9-12 year olds and in terms of plot, character development, and content is well suited to that age group. Though the lead character is a 12-year old girl, both boys and girls will enjoy this fantasy adventure.
Isabelle is a typical middle school student, until she sprouts an unusual silver strand that zaps people and spews pink dust. Out of frustration, she makes an impetuous wish that sets her on a path of mystical adventures. Accompanied by two chaperones who are either altruistic saviors or traitorous criminals (she struggles to decide which throughout the story), she embarks on a remarkable journey that transforms her in more ways than one. Along the way, Isabelle makes some interesting new friends that help her reveal talents she didn’t know she possessed and who also help to save her life, earning her gratitude and admiration.
The imaginative land of Agartha is enchanting and whimsical. Children will enjoy traveling to this magical place and being introduced to the colorful cast of non-human characters, especially Mozzy, Boldrick, and Ramala. Be prepared to answer some questions about unusual phrases though since the author is Australian and uses phrases and terms that American readers might not recognize. Other than using a few unfamiliar sayings, Isabelle is a typical tween and most children will relate to her thoughts, emotions, and attitude. The story introduces some serious topics that will lead thoughtful readers to ponder environmentalism and mankind’s carbon footprint if they draw a connection between the Terrans abuse of the planet in their mining of natural resources with society’s reliance on fossil fuels. The book also highlights the complexity of politics by leaving the presumed villains’ (the counsillors) fate in the hands of the populace, which is not unanimous in its ultimate decision.
My only frustration with the book was that in the version that I reviewed, there were several proofreading errors. Since I encourage my children to read not only to broaden their perspectives, but also to enhance their spelling and grammar skills, the significant number of errors made me hesitant to lend them my copy. I do hope this was an issue limited to the review copy. I then realized that I could use the book as a tool for testing their editing skills and thus, handed off the book to my 11-year old with instructions to notate any error he found and offered him a small reward if he could find at least ten. I hope that the published version available for purchase is free from these errors, but if not, you could use the same strategy and encourage a young editor!
The Silver Strand, a MG Fantasy Adventure for 9-12 year olds, is book 1 in the Mastermind Academy Series.
Author L.J. Clarkson
One thing you need to know about LJ Clarkson is that she tells BIG lies. She tells everyone that she gave up her career as an Environmental Engineer and Project Manager to write full time. But that’s not entirely true. Ten percent of the time she sleeps in. Fifteen percent of her day, she spends surfing the internet, researching for new books and her business. Ok, fine. Two percent is for research. But she’s only admitting it so she doesn’t end up like Boldrick. For eighteen point seven five percent of her day, she runs her promotional and support site for authors, called Indicated (www.indicated.com.au). The rest of her time involves writing, reading, watching movies and TV, walking her dogs and falling asleep whenever her boyfriend talks technical computer lingo. Truthfully, she hates early mornings, mondays, grammar (yuck! just ask her poor editor!), broccoli and cleaning. If you would like to drop her and line and let her know what you think of the book, she would love to hear from you. Just not before 8:30am in the morning.
Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.