A dark wizard.
A mystic scroll.
And the fate of a world hangs in the balance...
When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help a young princess, named Dara, save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies.
Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a fearless African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk.
Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord? The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.
I'll be completely honest, when I first got this book I was very skeptical. I read the first few pages and was really worried. It wasn't that the writing was terrible (it wasn't), but it seemed to set up as a very typical fantasy book. I don't do full fantasy books - urban fantasy yes - but not more classic fantasy. Well it's good that I kept reading because I found out it wasn't full fantasy at all! The whole concept of Alex being pulled into a fantasy world was great. Yes that's been done before, but Shiraz gave it a unique feel. Then to pull in other characters from other times and places and the story became complete. I was hooked. I enjoyed the play between Dara and Alex. It was nice to watch Alex grow into his "hero" roll. The book has a little of everything - action, tish of romance, magic, comedy and heart.
Only a few minor complaints - Dara was suppose to be 11, but honestly she felt much younger. I have a 10 year old daughter and when comparing her to Dara it didn't feel like only a year different. She seemed more 7 or 8. Not too big of a deal though. Also, some of the action and battles scenes could've been edited down, but that's just kind of a personal thing. I tend to get bored with too many. Lastly - the ending! I won't give anything away, but I wasn't prepared for that, and I hate being caught off guard! This ending isn't bad, it just frustrated me because I went into it clueless.
Final thought: Fun read. If you like books that are a mix of fantasty and real world, give it a try. I'm glad I didn't give up on it right away!
Check out the offical website here. There are two trailers to give you a feel for the book.
Book provided by author.