CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 15. . . .December 11, 2009
Chantel's Quest for the Enchanted Medallion.
Vancouver, BC: Be Read/Simply Read Books, 2009.
213 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.
Review by Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen.
Chantel wiped away the tears in her eyes and saw the hazy shape of Storm Mountain in the distance. She started to run again. She ran as fast as she could, keeping her eyes fixed on the mountain ahead. She did not see the change in the sand pattern in front of her. As she fell, she realized, "Sand Divers!"
The sand swallowed Chantel like a hungry snake. She struggled against it, trying to climb the sides of the pit, but the harder she tried, the faster she sunk. She felt a hand grasp her ankle and pull her deeper into the sand. Panic filled her. She tried to kick off the hand that tugged on her ankle, but it held tight.
The sand was above her shoulders now, consuming her neck and chin. She sunk deeper and deeper. The sand touched her lips. She closed her mouth. Nobody was there to help her.
Just before the sand covered her eyes, Chantel saw a shadow appear, and she looked into the Snow Walker's eyes. With her last strength she lifted one arm out and reached above her as her head sunk beneath the sand.
Chantel, the Princess of Freedom, continues on her quest to find the four relics in order to defeat the Evil One and save the Four Lands. Having recovered the Golden Sword of the North, Chantel must now travel to the deserts of the South to find the Enchanted Medallion. As she searches for the Wise One of the South and for her Soul Mate, Chantel learns more about her abilities and faces temptations from the Evil One. Followed by Aquila Bellum, the Snow Walker and Warlord of the North, and facing the Warlord of the South and his Sand Divers, Chantel must seek more allies from the people and creatures of the deserts in order for her quest to be successful.
Oliver Neubert continues the saga of Chantel and her quest to save the Four Lands with an excellent sequel to Chantel and the Quest for the Golden Sword. Chantel's Quest for the Enchanted Medallion contains all the magic and wonder of the first book while expanding the reader's knowledge of the Four Lands and the challenges that Chantel faces. As with The Golden Sword, Neubert has created a host of fascinating people and creatures to fill the world of the Four Lands while deepening the reader's knowledge of the characters from the first book.
The characters and their relationships grow more complex in The Enchanted Medallion. The majority of the characters need to choose which side they are on and must make this choice more than once. Good characters, including Chantel, are tempted by the Evil One. Dark characters, including Aquila, find themselves doubting the path they have chosen. The depth of the characters and the attention Neubert has given to creating them make the characters extremely appealing and provide many opportunities for the reader to closely identify with the characters.
The increasing complexity of the characters also makes the relationships between them more intricate and intriguing. Neubert carefully shows the increasing intricateness and connections, while not revealing more than is necessary, leaving the reader wondering about the connections and waiting for the next book to find out more. The presentation of the characters and their relationships provides a deeper and more compelling story that draws the reader into the Four Lands.
As the characters and their relationships become more complex, so does the narration of the story. In The Golden Sword, the narration primarily followed Chantel, with a few short pieces about Aquila Bellum and other characters. The narration has expanded in The Enchanted Medallion, following Owl, Fin, Enos, Laluna, Mother Nature and others, in addition to Chantel and Aquila. Chantel is still the primary character, but the narration is reflecting the complexity of the world and the quest which brings a greater depth to the story.
Neubert has followed his own imagination with the plot, resulting in many surprises for the reader, some pleasant and some not. He also resists the temptation to hint and foreshadow much of what might happen in the later books. The limited omniscience of the narrative aids in this, providing the reader with all the information necessary for The Enchanted Medallion but not giving away the future. The end of the book cannot easily be predicted, let alone the end of the series, which makes Chantel's Quest for the Enchanted Medallion refreshing and fun. The reader will always have more questions than answers, a situation which adds to the appeal of this series.
Oliver Neubert has created a magical and intriguing sequel about the Four Lands, one which shows the depth of his imagination and the strength of his writing, leaving the reader waiting for more.
Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen is a graduate of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at UBC, Vancouver, BC.
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