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Posted January 29, 2013
Stanley Delacourt is a ten year old librarian who lives in Meadowwood, in the kingdom of Hartlandia. He is an orphan, but never alone thanks to his best friends Sophie and Will.
Until one day, Will is killed. When Stanley finds out the murder was committed under the authority of the kingdom's usurper, Christoper Siren, he takes off on a quest to avenge his friend's death. He soon learns that what you read in books can be very different than what is in the real world.
This is a middle grade read, and the main character is 10 years old, but I'd probably recommend it for kids 12 and up...some of the vocabulary was a bit advanced.
So, we enter the kingdom of Hartlandia. The king and queen have been gone away "on a journey" for quite some time, and in their place is an inexplicably evil man, Siren. As we meet Stanley and his friends, we see that this evil is just now descending upon Meadowwood, their home. Siren has put pointless rules in place, and the townspeople (and Will) don't even know about them until it's too late.
I did LIKE Stanley, but I never really felt a connection with him. I found his friend Sophie far more interesting. Whereas Stanley is somewhat meek, Sophie has no qualms about getting into a conflict with anyone...which is why I think I really would have loved it if she joined Stanley on his quest. But, if she had, she wouldn't have learned the truth about herself.
This is a journey novel, with odd events and people coming into Stanley's path. Some are helpful and accommodating, others, not so much. I enjoyed some of the people he met, such as Mrs. Stuffed and Oberon, but their parts in the book were pretty brief.
I know this is the first book in a series, but my main issue is that I was hoping for a bit MORE information on certain things. For example, it's not really explained why Stanley is an orphan. I also thought the ending was pretty quick and would have benefited from a bit more exposition. Siren didn't really come across as the fearsome killer everyone feared when he met Stanley. But we shall see what future books reveal.
I think kids who love Harry Potter or the Septimus Heap series will be able to pick up this book and get into it very quickly! And as long as kids are reading, I'm happy.
Posted December 21, 2012
This book is a fun coming-of-age adventure perfect for middle grade readers. I fell in love with Stanley from the first page. Maybe it's because he's a librarian like me, or maybe it's because he's had to grow up so fast (doing a man's work at the age of 10). I also loved the library that he runs. His friends are great, Sophie, who's doing a woman's work with a very feisty spirit and Will, the cheerful, reckless adventurer. It's the kind of place that I would love to spend hours, it about broke my heart when the place was burned to the ground. But it was the death of one of Stanley's best friends, Will, that really got to me. I was with Stanley all the way as he struggled with anger and confusion. Like most of us when faced with tragedy, Stanley wanted to do something about it. So he sets off on a self-imposed mission to see the Ruler of the lands, Christopher Siren, and find out what was going on with all the new ridiculous and dangerous new rules that led to Will's death. Of course, along the way, he finds more than he could have ever dreamed, including friends, enemies, and more adventure than he ever wanted. I found this to be a pleasantly page-turning read and had to keep reading until I finished it. I appreciated that while it is part of a trilogy, the book actually has a solid ending, so many series books these days don't, so I found that refreshing. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about Stanley and Sophie. I recommend this to readers who enjoy a good quest story with some depth to it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 2, 2012
Stanley Delacourt is a librarian, but he's not just any librarian. Raised by an elderly librarian after the death of his parents, Stanley actually lives and works in the library. Only a teen he is still an authority on every book under his care, and he commands an unusual respect for someone so young.
Stanley's life in Hartlandia is simple yet fulfilling. His friends include Sophie and Will. Sophie is an apprentice to the local apothecary. Actually, the old apothecary has pretty much retired leaving Sophie to handle the business. She is well-trained and does an excellent job, only getting frustrated with annoying customers. Will works on his grandparents' farm. Compared to his friends, Stanley and Sophie, his job is a physical one, but he has the necessary strength and stamina to do it well.
As the adventure begins, the three friends are attending the local festival. They witness a surprise win in the annual boat race and enjoy the other entertainment and delicious food of the festival. As the events are winding down, the young winner of the boat race approaches them asking for help. He has lost his winning medal in a nearby meadow. After searching a short time, Stanley and Sophie must return to their respective jobs leaving Will to continue the search.
The following morning Stanley and Sophie receive devastating news. Will is dead. It appears he has been murdered by soldiers under the command of an evil substitute ruler. Stanley and Sophie vow to avenge their friend. Not long after, Stanley's beloved library is burned to the ground by the same evil ruler, angering Stanley even further.
What follows is an adventure that takes Stanley to strange and dangerous places. He encounters an odd principal and an unusual school, magic, satyrs, and much more. Sophie who stays at home in Hartlandia has her own share of adventure as she waits impatiently for her friend's return.
THE ADVENTURES OF STANLEY DELACOURT is a new middle grade fantasy adventure by author Ilana Waters. As yet only available in ebook format, it is the beginning of a series that is sure to thrill many middle grade fantasy fans.
Posted August 20, 2012