You may remember that back in April, I had the chance to review The Magic Warble, a fantasy novel for pre-teens by Victoria Simcox. My daughter really enjoyed the first book so I was pleased to have the opportunity to review the sequel, The Black Shard. Full of adventure, The Black Shard was an enjoyable read. But before I get to more of my review (and my daughter’s), a little bit about the book…
About The Black Shard
The Black Shard, Victoria Simcox’s fast-paced, intricately woven sequel to The Magic Warble, takes Kristina Kingsly and her schoolmates back to Bernovem … and into a thrilling, often dangerous adventure.
Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it’s all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can’t refuse.
Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends … and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn’t get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Black Shard”, Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.
If you have read The Magic Warble, you will discover that there are a lot of your favorite characters who have returned in the Black Shard. My daughter was thrilled to discover appearances by Kristina’s beloved pet rat,Raymond, and the talking horses, Taysha and Lisheng. There are plenty of new characters to discover as well. In addition, we learn a little bit of the backstory of the land of Bernovem and its rulers
The Black Shard is written for children aged 9-13. What I like so much about The Magic Warble and The Black Shard, is that kids can really identify with the heroine, Kristina. Lots of kids this age feel backwards, are shy, and have no self-esteem. Throughout The Black Shard, we see Kristina struggling with her self-esteem. Despite being beloved throughout Bernovem and being considered a hero, Kristina struggles with doubts and at times feels like an ugly duckling. I think most young girls can definitely relate to Kristina.
In The Black Shard, Kristina and the prince Werrien are a couple of years older than in the previous book. There is a sweet side story line of young love and all the awkwardness that entails. It is all very age appropriate though. My middle daughter is almost 10 and there was nothing in the book that I minded her reading. In fact, when I asked Miss A what her favorite part was, she said it was when Werrien kissed Kristina. I guess she is a hopeless romantic just like her mom!
Miss A is a huge fan of fantasy books and she was delighted by all the magical creatures in the book, especially the fairies. She was enchanted by Bernovem and the magic of it all. She also loved that it was non-stop adventure. The ending took her by surprise though. The Black Shard ends with a cliffhanger, and I assume there will be a third book in the series. I hope so, as Miss A definitely wants to know more of the story!
Overall, it was a fast and fun read. Even though it is a sequel, I do believe you could read it on its own. (Although I would recommend reading the first book too!) The adventure and intrigue in The Black Shard will keep kids interested until the very end. To get your own copy of The Black Shard, it is available on Amazon and on the author’s website.
The author, Victoria Simcox, would like to bless one A Heart Full of Love reader with a copy of The Black Shard. If the winner resides in the US, they will have their choice of a print copy or e-book. If the winner is outside the United States, they will receive an e-book copy. Entry is easy through the Rafflecopter form below.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Black Shard to facilitate this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.