Friday, January 16, 2009

Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye, by Kaza Kingsley

Title: Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye
Author: Kaza Kingsley
Illustrator: Melvyn Grant
Published: 2007
Pages: 340
Chapters: 25
Pages per Chapter (on average): 13+
Date Started: Jan. 13-----Date Finished: Jan. 15
My Reading Speed: 113+ pages a day, or 8+ chapters a day.
The Main Characters: Erec Rex, a 12 year-old boy with funny hair and a glass eye, and Bethany Evirly, an girl who's good with numbers.
My Brief Synopsis: When Erec's adopted mother goes missing, his search leads him to an entire other world full of unusual magic. Because the 3 rulers of the magic lands Aorth, Ashonaand Alypium are old and want to retire, contests for kids are being held to decide who will be the next 3 successors. Erec decides that entering this competion can't hurt, and with lots of help from his friends he gets closer and closer to maybe becoming a king.
The Conflicts: It's not going to be that easy, however. There are kids who cheat a lot, and the contests seem rather dangerous. Someone is also driving competitors away with various incidents. A minotaur runs loose, attack fleas makes everyone itch like crazy, swamp gas invades the dormitories. One of the king's AdviSeers, Balthazar Ugry, is a suspicious character, always around when something bad happens. Erec later discovers that his mom is trapped in the dungeon of King Pluto and he has to steal various ingrediants for a blasting formula. And on top of all that, it seems that there's a plot to take over the magic realms using the 3 royal scepters, and Erec's mother keeps hinting that someone might be out to get him.
My General Comments: As I read this book, I couldn't help but think that Kaza drew a lot of inspiration from the Harry Potter series. The whole plot almost seems to be an attempt to mix the plots of Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, with all the contests and breaking into dungeons. Balor Stain very much reminds me of Malfoy, and Ugry definitly has a Snape-ish air in my imagination. I can tell that Springball was trying to be another Quidditch. It's got really complex rules, none of which involve broomsticks. I can't say I'm very scared of Baskania. He's no Voldemort. I liked the book, but I think it was a little funny how quickly the kids accepted all the weird things about the magic world. It's like, "Oh, would you look at that? That's not normal. But I guess it's normal here, so I'm good."
My Favorite Part: I guess I liked the parts with the contests in them. There are 6 of them, I think, and it's like American Idol. The group of competing kids is always reduced after each task is completed. The games seem fun. I think I'd have stood a chance of winning them if I was a character.
My Favorite Things About the Book: I enjoyed the semi-closeness to Harry Potter. The main characters reminded me a lot of Harry and Hermione. It's a shame there couldn't be a kind of Ron in there. I really liked the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, by Melvyn Grant. His style is incredibly close to J.K.'s illustrator, Mary Grandpre. I like that Erec has different colored eyes, because in the book I'm writing my villain has a green and blue eye, so when I saw the cover up close I thought it was cool. It's not referenced a lot in the book, though. I also thought it was funny how Bethany sounded a lot like Bettina to me.
A Personal Shout Out to Kaza Kingsley: This book sounds like an interesting start to a series. I'm not sure what else is going to happen to Erec, but it sounds cool. I hope you don't take it the wrong way about how close your story is to Harry Potter. Did you get a lot of inspiration from it, I wonder?
Here's the link to Erec Rex's Wikipedia Article. It doesn't say much right now.
Below is the Erec Rex website:
What is your favorite part? If you haven't read this book, sorry for all the spoilers, but you can comment and say if this book review was helpful. If you have read this book, please give me a comment or email me so we can discuss it. This would be the closest I've ever gotten to a book club, you know.


Kaza Kingsley, said...

Thanks for the review, Bettina!
The Harry Potter commentary is interesting. I wonder if you'll see similarities in the following books in the series. I'd bet not...

Kaza Kingsley

J.N. Future Author said...

OMG! its Kaza!

I have never read any of those - but maybe i should...