Monday, June 27, 2011
MG Fantasy: Escape from Zobadak by Brad Gallagher
Date: July 1, 2011
Acquired: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Read: for review
Reading time: two days
When carpenter Uncle Gary disappears, his nephew Billy inherits his nightstand, the one piece of Gary's furniture to be found in his house. Little does the eleven-year-old know, however, that the nightstand is a portal to a strange maze of corridors and rooms, filled with drawers and a random assortment of objects. When mysterious men from the elusive Zobadak wood company show up and threaten Billy's family, he, his little sister Sophie, and their friends Maggie and Chris decide to venture into the nightstand's world to find Uncle Gary and save their parents.
Escape from Zobadak is well-written but slow. All of the events and action are drawn-out, though not quite to the point of being boring. Fortunately, the premise of the book - a hidden world connected not by magic, but by joinery and mathematics - keeps the story unique and interesting enough to hold readers' attention. Still, I found that one of the most engaging parts of the book came at the end, where a sequel is blatantly set up. Did I like the first book enough to read the sequel? I suppose. While the plot premise is unique, the story/writing combination reminded me of two books (that I highly enjoyed reading): Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne and the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. As with these, this book is best for young fantasy fans who are mature enough to not get distracted from the book when the plot gets slow.
My copy of Escape from Zobadak was received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. Published by Mackinac Island Press, the book goes on sale July 1, 2011.