Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
The first chapter of The Iron Jawed Boy drew me in like a good prologue usually does. It gave me a sense of being in another world, with a race of people known as Callers experiencing subjugation. It also gave me a sense of the main character, Ionikus (Ion) Reaves, as a frightened boy who is ripped from his family and sold as a slave. An intriguing start, but by chapter two I was doubting my ability to finish the book. The new characters that were introduced were too overblown and cartoonish for my taste, even bearing in mind that it is an intermediate read. And then the first of the Guardians arrived and my interest was regained.
The Iron Jawed Boy is the beginning of a series that I plan to continue reading. Here is what it has going for it:
Ion, who is believable as a scared young boy who happens to be an Air Caller and is able to command the winds. Occasionally his dialogue seemed a bit mature, but I find that in most fantasy novels for younger audiences.
A city, Protea, and a school for young gods, sprites, elves, dwarves, giants and nymphs. These are locations with great potential for even more action in the sequels.
The oft-mentioned war with the Outerworld (our world, existing parallel to Illyria, circa 2100) and the resurgence of conflict also have great potential for future adventures.
A fully imagined mythology, with various Illyrian gods and goddesses that do not directly correlate to Greek or Roman myths. Guardians, who are gods and goddesses, were created by the main Illyrian gods as a protective force. An Illyria Family Tree is included, which I always appreciate (almost as much as a map in fantasy books).
Generally fun things, like a Guardian who arrives and departs as a cloud of locusts and the food at the school (don’t eat the Blister Bites!).
Overall, it was a fun read (once I slogged through Chapter 2). If I were still teaching, I would definitely add a physical copy to my classroom library.
This review refers to an ebook copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review. It is short on detail to avoid spoilers!