children's fantasy book reviews Wayne Thomas Batson The Berinfell Prophecies Curse of the Spider KingCurse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCurse of the Spider King (2009) begins by introducing the reader, one at a time, to seven completely unrelated teens from around the world. Left to live out mortal lives on earth as humans, these seven teens are actually far from human. They are in fact the only living heirs to the thrones of a forgotten realm inhabited by elves and the Spider King. Once these seven turn thirteen, they are no longer protected by an ancient curse, and they become prey.

Curse of the Spider King starts out slowly — there are seven different settings, sets of characters, and situations to explain. Some of their names were easily confusable (e.g., Timmy, Tommy, and Johnny), but Wayne Thomas Batson manages to make each teen realistic, deep, and unique. There are no holes in character development nor lengthy paragraphs of tedious explanation. Each setting is thought out and described neatly. The pace moves slowly at first, but picks up speed as the story goes along, right through to the end.

Over all, Curse of the Spider King is a very suspenseful story. Once you’re past the slow bits at the start, it really gets into motion and the puzzle pieces fit together in a surprise finish, leaving the reader eager for the next installation of The Berinfell Prophecies.

The Berinfell Prophecies — (2009-2012) With Christopher Hopper. Ages 9-12. Publisher: Fantasy. Mystery. Action. Humor. Parents, teachers, and librarians will no longer have to push kids to read — The Berinfell Prophesies will engage intermediate readers and leave them clamoring for more. The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that’s what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago. Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle. Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King? Learn more about The Berinfell Prophecies. Create your own tribe. Connect with fans through the forum. Win pre-release chapters and the opportunity to have Wayne and Christopher at your very own book party!

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  • Skye Walker

    SKYE WALKER, who has been on FanLit’s staff since September 2014 (after a brief time on staff as a YA reviewer in 2007-2008), is from Canada. Their HBA in Anthropology and Communications allowed them to write an Honours paper on podcasting as the modern oral tradition of storytelling: something they will talk about at any and all opportunities. Skye is a communications professional in the non-profit sector. These days their favourite authors include Ursula K Le Guin, Bo Bolander, and Chris Wooding. They can be found on social media @tskyewalker