For children’s fantasy fiction to really capture the imagination it has to keep a link between family life and the realm of adventure. RALA offers just that sort of mysterious enchantment seemingly calling to River Baker and her sister Kit in a way they cannot ignore. There’s also something special about grandparents who have past lives that seem slightly out of reach, which gives this wonderful story a whole extra dimension. It begins by asking questions about a locked room that’s seems to radiate light, and eventually leads to a whole new understanding about the relationships between our warrior princess and her sister and also Nana and her sister Violet. We are swept along by the narrative as River explores RALA and comes to appreciate her own strength. She is aided by characters holding some of the keys to the mystery regarding what happened to her great aunt, but only she can discover the whole truth-a quest that becomes imperative if she is to save Kit from Eleon. The book is written in a fast paced style that kids will enjoy, but RALA is also a fully realized world and one which offers possibilities for much more exploration. As this story concludes there are still many questions one would like to ask about it’s history and the special powers River has as a warrior princess, so one hopes there may be further volumes to come.

 

Adrian Clark

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