At the age of ten, Sofia Corona saved the Fairwoods from the malevolent grasp of the Cedar Witch and her goblin army.
Two years later, she drowned unceremoniously in the lake behind her Oregon home.
In the months following the Heroine's death, when the Fairwoods face a resurgence of goblin attacks, they are forced to turn to Sofia's cynical twin sister, Maya, for help. Although she wants nothing more to do with her sister's fanciful adventures, Maya comes to realize that this one last favor could give her the closure she needs to put Sofia's memory to rest and move on with her life.
With her twin's magic ring and faithful gryphon companion, Maya embarks on a reluctant journey of whimsical antics and unwitting self-discovery in this stark but humorous fairy tale.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.26(d)|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book of approximately one hundred pages might be described as a dark fantasy. There are many traditional fantasy characters like gryphons, trolls, fairies, unicorns and witches. A few others like the Talking Bear Mayor and the satyr sheriff are a bit of a stretch. Then there is a reluctant heroine and her twin sister who is a magical weaver and heroine. Allow me to summarize the plot briefly. Maya is a rather morose and cynical twelve year old whose twin sister Sofia has recently drowned. Sofia had magical powers along with a magical ring which now belongs to her sister. Two years prior to her death, Sofia had managed to rid the Fairwoods of the trolls under the power of the Cedar Witch. Their lands became peaceful. One day Camden, her sister’s pet gryphon, reappears at the site where Sofia died. He attempts to convince Maya that the Fairwoods are again in danger, and that she is needed to restore peace. Maya has no interest in being a weaver or leaving her comfortable life in Oregon. But she feels guilty and eventually agrees to spend Labor Day weekend with Camden on a quest to find the Morning Stone and restore the balance of power. Maya loses her backpack to Duskrats, and then travels on to the home of the Maple Witch who feeds them and attempts to show Maya how to weave magic just as Sofia had done in the past. Maya is unsuccessful and frustrated. She and the gryphon will meet up with a unicorn, goblins, a geographer some cobblers, and trolls in their attempts to find the Morning Stone. When Maya finally reaches her destination, she is shocked to find that her heroine sister’s death was not an accident. Maya must now make a decision whether or not to avenge it. Will Maya ever be able to put the tragedy behind her or will she forever be molded by it? I like the multiculturalism introduced by using Spanish phrases, particularly Maya’s grandmother’s description of her as Hueca (hollow) . That is a good way to explain the way Maya feels about herself at the beginning of the story. As mentioned previously, there are some fantasy elements included that are a stretch with the plot, but all in all, I feel that the short novel will appeal to children ten and older as well as adults who like a quick fantasy read.
**I received a free promotional copy from the author in exchange for an honest review** I loved this novella. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it does a glorious job of turning the traditional “hero” story on its head. One of the things I loved about this book is that there’s your classic heroine destined by fate to save a magical world of zany fantasy creatures … except that she drowns in a pool, and suddenly it’s up to her emotionally detached sister to save the day instead. The character of Maya is so fun, precisely because she is so far removed from what a heroine is supposed to be. She’s rational and cynical, so rather than reacting to a whimsical forest creature with delight, she gives it this “you’ve got to be kidding me” look and then tries very hard to be polite while inwardly bemoaning the ridiculous situation she’s in. The novella is packed with a variety of whimsical forest creatures, my personal favorite being a tribe of trolls who consider themselves expert hat makers (they’re not), and are convinced the rest of the world are set on stealing their hats (they’re not). Sometimes the “whimsical encounters”, as I like to call them, seemed a bit tightly packed together, but it’s a novella, not a rambling 100k word fantasy novel, so allowances must be made! All in all, a delightful little read!
I loved this book for the careful balance of drama and humor in a fantasy adventure setting. Maya, a pragmatic counterpart to her recently deceased twin, plays a great straight man and lends some seriousness to the carnival of fairytale bizzarity she has been asked to save. Being a novella, it isn't so long that the reader could grow tired of the colorful world Walton has created. Maya's indignation at being subjected to such silliness never interferes with the story of her quest, and try as one might, I doubt most readers will be able to guess the "Cat at the End" I would recommend this book to young adult and adult readers looking for something that reads like candy but with a bit of weight behind it.
The Amber Ring reminds me of the best sort of classic fairy tales: it's an amusing, fast read, but beneath the whimsy lurks sharp teeth with a bite. Walton juxtaposes a humorous and goofy magical world where bears govern towns and trolls wear hats with harsh realities including gritty fights with goblins and the challenges of coping with a deceased sister. This juxtaposition results in a unique spin on many classic fantasy tropes, granting the reader plenty of laughs and sly winks while building to a powerful, thought-provoking conclusion. Not too long nor too short, this novella is a fun, smart read for teens and adults who enjoy their humor and fantasy with an added punch.