The Spider Gem: Book One of the Portal Chronicles by Taff Lovesey
Publisher: Under the Moon
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (195 pgs)
Rating: 3 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe
Accidentally invoking the power of a magical portal network, three teenagers, Ashley from Oregon, USA and two Welsh boys, Rhys and Michael, are pulled into Portalia, a fantastical world of sword and sorcery.
Befriended by centaurs, the trio find themselves at the forefront of a perilous quest to thwart the efforts of an evil warlock intent on world domination.
In possession of The Spider Gem, the warlock commands an enormous army of spiders as well as a throng of fearsome and unfeeling lava rock creatures, the Graav.
As the teenagers become attuned to their new world they develop unique skills of their own and soon join forces with the citizens of the world to form an alliance of good.
A mighty battle is inevitable as the alliance of elves, humans, dwarves, centaurs and magical fire eagles, rush headlong towards confrontation.
Can you imagine stepping through a portal into another world? What if it’s a world filled with mythical creatures and an evil wizard?
Rhys goes to stay with his aunt who lives on the Welsh coastline. He stays two weeks each summer and enjoys the fresh air, water and freedom to commune with nature. He also enjoys his friend, Mike, who lives in the same area and shares his interests. Rhys gets his aunt’s permission to visit a cave on the beach and Mike comes along. They take along food, water, a two way radio, and set out for a day’s adventure.
What they find at the back of the cave causes them to be transported to another world. And not only are they transported, they find themselves joined by a girl named Ash. She has no idea how she got there either! Now they are in a world of mythical magic.
There are several subplots in this novel. The main characters are human and have their fears, but also their courage and strength to fall back on. You will meet wizards, warlords, dwarves, elves, centaurs and more as you go through the story. There is a lot of action, magic, and war mixed with unusual creatures and brave warriors.
The plot seems a bit light, but it is written for young adults. The themes are sometimes dark, but they are not overwhelming.
This story will keep you reading while you watch the classic fight between good and evil. You also wonder if the three children will ever find their way back home.
There will be a sequel, and I was happy to hear that. While many have died in the war already, the evil wizard and his coven are still alive – and will be back…