Today is YA day on UFR, two YA reviews in one day. I am not an everyday YA reader, I normally need to be in the right mood for me to read them, and today’s earlier review got me in the mood, so I added this book to the mix. I got the distinct feeling early on in this book it was going to have a similar like flare to Harry Potter, which it did.
Now just people you can easily draw similarities between this book and Harry Potter, does not mean this book is is not unique. Religion plays a huge role in this book, as the school the young magicians attend is merged with a school for Jewish studies as well. Due to this there is a lot of Jewish references within the book, that I am not sure I understood completely, but it definitely added for a different flare and feeling for the book.
The book follows Simon, and his group of friends through their first year at the School of the Ages. Simon from very early on in the book is being haunted by a spirit and has no idea what to do about it. To make matters worse every time he tries to talk to anyone about it the spirit prevents him from doing so. Simon gets the feeling this spirit is never going to leave him alone and worse that this spirit is not a friendly spirit.
As will any young 13 year old at a new school, a lot of the children find conflict with each other, so there is a lot of the young drama within this book, although with a magical flare. You spend a lot of the time in this book getting to know the characters in the book, and not just the haunting spirit problem. You learn that Goldberry has a sick mother she cares about and an overbearing father who makes life interesting both at school and at home, and not just for her but also for Simon. One of Simon friends has a crush on another that seemingly is going nowhere, and that creates some interesting situations for the group of friends.
All in all the book was an entertaining read for YA readers, which leads me to the end. I of course do not want to tell you what happened in the ending of the book (it would be too spoilery and serve no review purpose), but I feel like it can’t go unmentioned. I have a feeling, especially if you are an adult reading this, you are going to have some kind of reaction to the end of the book. And I do admit to wondering if this ending was even needed or if it is too much. I can honestly say I don’t know how I feel about the ending, but you will understand what I mean when you read the ending of the book. I think the ending could make or break this book for certain people.
That being said, I’m going to give this book a good rating. I think it’s an interesting way to write a fantasy YA book, and the use of religion within it makes it truly interesting. It also does not force religion on the characters or the reader, some of the characters aren’t Jewish and while there is some conflict between the Jewish population and the non-Jewish population, I think the thing to take away from the book is finding a way to accept people who are different than you are. I think this is a good YA read in my opinion.
Check out the website for the series http://schooloftheages.webs.com/