Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crater Lake Battle For Wizard Island...A Review

Crater Lake Battle For Wizard Island
By Steve Westover

I've never been to Crater Lake. Actually, that's not true...when my mother was alive she told me that I did see Crater Lake when I was only a few months old. Had the events that take place in Steve Westover's new novel, Crater Lake Battle For Wizard Island actually happened when I was there as an infant, I would have been in REAL trouble! 

Westover combines mystical creatures, Native American legends, the awkwardness of teenage years, and a battle for survival into a story that both entertains and keeps the reader wondering what comes next. The story revolves around a team of kids thrown together by the most unusual of circumstances. When every adult at Crater Lake and the surrounding area disappear (many of the disappearances are described in grizzly detail...) only children under a certain age remain to fend for themselves--hence the problems I would have faced as a baby if my family's visit coincided with Westover's story. The children are left to fight the elements, ancient legends, fighting zombies, and each other to survive.

Westover chooses to divide the story of 240+ pages into dozens of chapters, many only one or two pages long. It keeps the story moving and gives the reader a fast-paced experience. It took only a few hours of reading a day for a few days for me to finish the book. The book ends with a satisfactory ending as well as a set up for additional novels to come. It does, quite nicely, stand on its own as a singular story.

Though the book is targeted to a Young Adult audience, I believe adults will enjoy reading it themselves or reading it to their children. Westover masterfully paints a picture of scary things in a way that should not overwhelm children, however, younger kids--say under eight-years old--might find some of the imagery a bit disturbing. 

I enjoyed the story. If I ever make it to Crater Lake (again...) I'm sure this story will come to mind and I will wonder if the legend of Chief Llao and Chief Skell actually exists.

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