Monday, 15 June 2015

The Warlock’s Child, Book 1: The Burning Sea

The Warlock’s Child, Book 1: The Burning Sea by Paul Collins & Sean McMullen
(Ford Street Publishing)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN 978-1925000924

Reviewed by Francine Sculli

The Burning Sea is the first book in the latest six-book fantasy series co-authored by well-known authors Paul Collins and Sean McMullen. And it wastes no time in plunging us deep into the thrilling adventure with Dantar and his sister Velza, our two main protagonists who, by command of their Dravinian Battle Warlock father, have landed themselves on aboard the fleet on its way to invade the Kingdom of Savaria.

Dantar is serving as a cabin boy, one of the lowest ranking roles on the fleet, constantly concerned that he is one of the few without magical abilities. While Velza, a shape-casting warrior, has found herself in the male dominated ranks as an officer in a tenuous role. The two of them despise each other and the power play and family tension ripples through the book as the drama unfolds.

But everything they know is about to change.

The fantastical, medieval world around them is in the midst of darkness. It’s a place governed by magic and roamed by dragons, but everything has been turned upside down. In a time before, the Dark Hands misused the powers they had created. The dragons intervened, breaking up the human magic into four parts, allowing only the dragons to have complete control of all four parts simultaneously. Now, in an attempt to reconnect the four powers, the Dravinian Emperor ordered war against Savaria.

Nothing goes to plan. On their way to battle the dragon Dravaud hovers in the air over the Dravinian fleet, convinced there is a dragon egg aboard the Invincible. He burns one of the fleets down to the ground. While putting out fires on board, through the speaking tubes Dantar overhears a conversation that he shouldn’t and unearths a traitor on board. He is convinced it has something to do with Meslit, the water wizard, who disappears in a cloud of ash. Dantar senses he is developing protection against heat and fire and harbouring magical tendencies far beyond his imagination. Velza loses her ranks as an officer. Much to her disgust, Dantar rises through the ranks throwing her world off kilter. As they near the shores of Savaria in the final pages, and more strange occurrences happen, Velza still finds it in her heart to rescue him as he goes overboard, giving Dantar his first taste of being part of a loving family unit. As readers, we are left hanging right there with the siblings, wondering what will happen next and with a sense that their bond will grow in future books as they are forced together to unwrap the deep mysteries and questions that have arisen.

The Burning Sea is an action-packed book with just the right amount of wit, characterisation, worldly carvings, mystery and plot twists to keep older primary school readers engaged and wanting more.


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