Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox

The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Publish Date: October 4, 2011
Paperback, 255 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
 ISBN: 978-1937293147

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

My Review:
I loved The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox, so when Victoria contacted me a little over a month ago to let me know that The Black Shard was being released and would I like to review it, I quickly agreed.  First let me let you in on a secret, I don't keep many books, most of my review books I offer up as giveaways when I am done with them.  When I read The Magic Warble, I kept it.  The Black Shard will join it there as well.  That should tell you something about the books right there.  They are delightful and I can see myself picking them up again.  I also want to share them with my sons as well.

So onto what I thought specifically of The Black ShardThe Black Shard picks up a little in the future after The Magic Warble ends, Kristina is back in her real world and wondering if the world of Bernovem ever existed.  As the book starts it's summer and Kristina is headed off to horse-riding camp which she is excited about except for the fact that Davina and Hester will be there.  Davina and Hester were in The Magic Warble and are mean to Kristina.  You know the type, most books involving girls have them.  I really feel sorry for Kristina, because she is sweet and just wants them to leave her alone.  But soon enough the three of them are thrust back into the world of Bernovem and Kristina gets to see her wonderful friend Prince Werrien again.

Once they all return to Bernovem the excitement and adventure begin along with the confusion and misunderstood feelings between Kristina and Werrien (ah it seems that even in the fantasy world confusion abounds in the relationships between boys and girls).  I loved seeing the two of them together in this book.  But all is not perfect in the world of Bernovem and there is a lot going on.  The King seems preoccupied, various gnomes seem up to no good, a plague breaks out and so much more.  I was kept guessing through the book as I was introduced to new people and places and left wondering who could Kristina and Werrien trust and who could they not trust.  It was a great book plot-wise, with surprises and great fantasy scenes (love the dolphin).  Ms. Simcox has quite the imagination to further develop the world of Bernovem but does not make it too out there where it is too hard for middle graders to comprehend.

The book is an easy and quick read.  The plot moves quickly, the characters are interesting and I loved seeing more of Bernovem.  It was also great to see some more character growth.  Both Kristina and Werrien are now older and they show it.  They still act immature at times, but they are growing more mature and I liked that.  There are also some very interesting revelations about characters in this one and some great back story as well that supports what is going on in The Black Shard and will take us into the next installment as well.

What more can I say, The Black Shard was another winner from Ms. Simcox for me and will go in a place of honor on my keeper bookshelf.  These are wonderful fantasy books with good lessons for middle graders and young adults, but more than that, they are wonderful stories to be enjoyed.  I do recommend that you read The Magic Warble first for the background on the world of Bernovem and also for Kristina and Werrien's story.  It will help you to understand the characters and the story in The Black Shard better.  Ms. Simcox does a good job summarizing things that took place before so I don't think anyone would be lost reading The Black Shard on it's own, but you would miss out on a wonderful book in The Magic Warble.  So go get The Black Shard and dive into the world of Bernovem with Kristina and Werrien, fall in love with the place and the characters, you will definitely be in for a delightful afternoon of reading. 

If you are looking for that perfect gift for a middle grader or young adult fantasy lover, give them the gift of this series.  For a boy or girl, this series is a great escape for a tween or teen. 

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Parental guidance:  Perfect for tweens, no cuss words, and the most that goes on is a kiss.  There is some violence, but it is mild as well, nothing objectionable - it is fantasy so some violence is expected and it is not gratuitous in nature.

My review of The Magic Warble

About the Book:
The Black Shard, Victoria Simcox’s fast-paced, intricately woven sequel to The Magic Warble, takes Kristina Kingsly and her schoolmates back to Bernovem … and into a thrilling, often dangerous adventure.

Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it’s all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can’t refuse.

Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends … and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn’t get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Black Shard”, Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.

About the Author (from 
Victoria, known as Vicki, was born in 1966, in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She has one older sister, Jeannette. When Vicki was 7, she moved with her family to British Columbia. In her early twenties Vicki moved to Western Washington and now resides in Marysville WA. She has been married to her husband Russ, for nineteen years and they have three children; Toby, who is fifteen, Kristina, thirteen, and William, eight. She has home schooled her children for the past nine years, and she also teaches elementary school art. Vicki’s other family members are, a Chihuahua, named Pipsy, two cats, Frodo, and Fritz, and two parakeets, Charlie, and Paulie. She did have a pet rat named Raymond when she started writing The Magic Warble, but sad to say, he has since passed away of old age. Vicki enjoys writing, painting watercolors, watching movies, hanging out with her family, and chauffeuring her kids around to their many activities. Her favorite author is C.S. Lewis, and one of her fondest memories is when she was twelve. She would sit at the kitchen table and read The Chronicles of Narnia to her mother while she cooked dinner. These magical stories were very dear to Vicki and she remembers wishing, If only I could go to Narnia like Lucy and Susan. Vicki hopes that maybe, she can touch someone with her story in a similar way. 

The Black Shard Website
The Magic Warble Website

FTC Information: I received this book from the author for an honest review.  I do make money from purchases made at The Book Depository, but all money is used to fund giveaways and shipping for giveaways from the blog.