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Posted May 14, 2014
I must bashfully admit but in the process had a good laugh how I missed such a lack of one letter, to give you little more clarity of what im speaking of, I first received my copy of Four Fiends I made the mistake and reading Four F"R"iends, well I guarantee you are all wondering how does one make such a mistake in adding a "R" in a word that is well completely correct in its spelling, that actually falls two a few simple things. Are brain tends to perceive things a certain way and when letters are formed in very similar to exact format we tend to see when knowing its not another way, this where the whole right and left brain come in. I myself seen this so many times but when it happens you cannot help to laugh.
Onto the book though Four Fiends, based around Four Friends, and the book's title fits well, perfectly. A book of mythology and magic, with cultural tales weaved in and out, it's that is just hard not to enjoy, and a book fit comfortably for and young girl or boy. With wonderfully simple illustrations ( and I mean in line work but no less complex), the style fits well with the Chinese and Japanese style, its so important that you see when looking at pieces that revolve a different culture, or one personal style how it keep it authenticate to the tale you are weaving. This style of artwork depends on a strong foundation, simple line work with strong color and non "flashy" background. It depends on proportions and perspective which creates another level of complexity to the piece because you can see when its off. It's a style in itself that comes close to perfect when it comes to precision and technical skills. If you take a look at the cover and background and the small illustrations throughout it showcases a style similar to its origins to its characters.
*Four Fiends* by *Nikki Bennett* is about four children who in a normal circumstance are unlikely to ever meet. Each one uncovers a creature that is invisible but not to them. *Why?* because each one has a destiny to fulfill, even when it's not always clear to ourselves e have Jinjing from Hong Kong, tall in statue, but afraid of her own shadow..... Pietro from Italy, who specializes in bending the truth into tall tales but (who doesn't like telling a good tall tale now and again) as long it doesn't hurt no one else? Well let's wait and see. Kate from the USA is a confident young girl but when it comes to asking for help, well let's just say that her weakness, she's not very good at it or doing it all for that matter. Last but not least, Saburo, who just wants to be like every other kid, not a child with troublesome legs that pain him ( and who, no matter how popular one is, weak or strong, confident or insecure) we all have that little want to be either like someone else, to fit in or be accepted for who one is. With help from a magical item to help them along the way, the *Four Friends (Yes that is correct)* must defeat the *Four Fiends*, in order to free their Guardians. At times together, at times they must journey alone; each one must face their fears in order to battle the Fiends
When their new pets grow are big enough, the four children find themselves being whisked away on important adventure. To save the world from the Four Fiends who have captured the Four Guardians of the world.
Posted May 10, 2014
Four Fiends features a story about a GoldenDragon trapped upon a small island and four unlikely kids from culturally diverse regions of the world who join forces to rescue the missing four guardians; the Vermillion Bird, the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, and the Black Tortoise. With special powers provided to them by the Golden Dragon, the kids will go on a magical journey in a richly devine world detailing some history's most ancient folklore, while sharing with readers their ultimate struggles as they work against the Four Fiends; Gluttony, Chaos, Ignorance, and Deviousness. Together, they will forge a friendship and overcome some of the most difficult challeneges ever faced finding hope, strength, and the will to overcome their weakest selves.
Overall, the story is a powerful one that is not only engaging ,with all of its mystical charms, but provides both a deeper history lesson than what is typically touched upon here in the states, as well as instills readers with a solid lesson in the humanties.
It is an easy read to get absorbed into as the characters are very well written with well rounded personalities, providing at least one character for readers to connect with. The further you get into the book the easier it becomes to also make connections between the plot and rea world issues and this easily provides parents and educators with an open to door to broaden their children's minds.
I would suggest, however, if trying to target the 8+ crowd, to possibly think about providing a more aesthetically engaging cover that will grab a child's attention as they pass by and have them curious as to what the book is about, because let's face it, especially with children, they will judge a book by its cover and it would be saddening to see this phenomenal book be passed over as it could easily be a favorite alongside Percy Jackson!
I definitely recommend Four Fiends to both parents and educators, as well as readers of all ages. You will not be disappointed and will easily find yourself recommending it to others.
*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review*
Posted May 5, 2014
Far from cliche and qute often unpredictable.
Paige is always excited when I get a new children's book to review but she was especially excited to learn about the Four Fiends. Any guesses why?? Jingjing, from China, Saburo from Japan, Pietro from Italy, and Kate from America (New Jersey) were all very different kids living in very different parts of the world. They were all summoned by the mystical Golden Dragon to get back the four Guardians of the World from the Four Fiends. The Four Fiends kidnapped the Four Guardians of the World. The Fiends are Deviousness, Ignorance, Gluttony and Chaos. Each of the four kids have to face one of the Four Fiends. The fate of the world depends on them! Any Guesses? That's right... Many connections to China!
It was very well written. Far from cliche and qute often unpredictable. Good lessons taught while adventures were had. I loved that it drew on Eastern folklore and mythology. American children are fairly familiar with American and European folklore and little else. Learning about other cultures though their stories and history can help broaden our understanding. This book would be appropriate and of interest to the age groups of all of my girls - roughly MG through Tween and I would encourage them to read it. I cannot wait to read it with Paige this Summer.
Rating: 5 Stars*****
Note: I received this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own and no further compensation was received.
Posted May 3, 2014
WOW is all I can say about this book! I fell in love the first chapter :) I was entranced with it, couldn't put it down. Perhaps because it was something I haven't read before - young people with magical worms that have to go on missions to rescue magical animals and they have magical items to use. Sabura, Kate, JingJing and Pietro are amazing and are written very well. I really loved the way the author brought each of their pasts into the adventure and showed us how complex they were and how their lives and pasts affected the adventures and how they deal with things. I also loved the diversity, that each character was from a different place and had different cultures which did clash on occasion but also helped them win.
I felt A LOT for these characters - they were not just stick figures on paper - I believe that Kate was my favorite possibly because she was so strong-willed and stubborn like me :) I also loved the way the author played with the concept of Four Fiends/Four Friends because on their journey they learn about each other and where they each come from and it bonds them. The bonds they have with their worms is amazing too! I seriously want my own worm now LOL I know that sounds crazy but you could literally FEEL the love and comfort that each worm brought to their owner. I WANT that feeling. I would give this book 10 stars if I could, that is really how much I enjoyed reading it - possibly the best book I have read since I started reviewing! It was such a departure from the "normal" paranormal and magical novels we are used to, and I would highly recommend this book for adults and YA alike!
***I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
Posted December 3, 2013
Jingjing, from China, Saburo from Japan, Pietro from Italy, and Kate from America (New Jersey to be specific) were all very different kids living in very different parts of the world. They were all summoned by the mystical Golden Dragon to get back the four Guardians of the World from the Four Fiends. The Four Fiends kidnapped the Four Guardians of the World. The Fiends are Deviousness, Ignorance, Gluttony and Chaos. Each of the four kids have to face one of the Four Fiends. The fate of the world depends on them!
This story was very unique. I loved the time-travel parts to it and that it combines history and mythology. The characters were really great. I loved that they were from all over the world. They were all very different and all very likable. I especially liked Jingjing and the perseverance she had in the story. The plot was straight forward and in some places a little predictable, but overall, the story was very entertaining to read and it kept me turning the pages. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter was a nice touch. The book is a clean read and is great for all ages. I’d be happy to read the next book in this series!
*NOTE I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Posted September 1, 2013
Reviewed by Patricia Reding for Readers' Favorite
In Four Fiends: Countdown to Dammerung (Book 1), Nikki Bennett introduces four unique and personable youngsters, each of whom has suffered a loss or who believes himself — or perhaps is seen by the others — as lacking in some way, or who has some flaw, some negative personality trait. Jinjing, from Hong Kong, perceives herself to be “a lumbering mountain with feet,” Pietro, from Italy, forever stretches the truth because he simply feels “compelled” to do so; Kate, from the U.S., is unable to admit to any shortcomings and in the process reveals her own lack of knowledge and understanding; and Saburo, from Japan, still recovering from a severe injury, fears he lacks necessary physical strength.
Each of the children discovers a unique “pet,” after which the four are magically whisked away to an island where the Golden Dragon lives. The Four Guardians, who in the past had assisted the Golden Dragon in keeping the world in balance, have been taken captive by the Four Fiends: Gluttony, Chaos, Ignorance, and Deviousness. With the assistance of their pets and the magic those pets and the Golden Dragon provide, Jinjing, Pietro, Kate, and Saburo are challenged to face and overcome his or her own greatest weakness or fear. As the children engage in four separate adventures, what each child lacks is exposed and the strength and special skills of each is required to overcome the Four Fiends.
As young readers follow the quartet in their efforts to find and overcome the Four Fiends, they will be taken on a delightful journey that will grant them the opportunity to discover the merits of perseverance and heroism, as well as some truths about themselves and others. Bennett has drawn a clever story with fully developed and interesting characters as well as some fun and unique magic. Young readers are sure to be engaged in this well-told story that provides thoughtful, witty, age-appropriate dialogue, insightful word pictures, a bit of history, and some old myths, legends and folklore. The prose is smooth and the illustrations are engaging.
Posted April 9, 2013