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The Lost Child's Quest

Title: The Lost Child’s Quest (#1)

Author: James Haddell

Published: 1st of December 2020 – Emira Press

Format: eARC (PDF) – 288 pages

“Legends may be born from half-forgotten memory or half-understood experience, but they’re never made up out of thin air, and sometimes there’s more truth in legend than in fact.” – The Lost Child’s Quest

Hello Hello! How are you?

Today, I’m really happy to be bringing you my first blog post of 2021 and it’s a review of a lovely book that I read as an author request! I’m so glad that James asked me to read his book because it was great and I had a lot of fun reading it, so keep on reading for all my thoughts!

Thank you so much to James for asking me to read and review this book, and for sending me a free copy of it in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

AMAZON SYNOPSIS

Deposited on the doorstep of a children’s home as a baby, Tia’s only clues to her history are the strange items left with her: a luggage label with her name on, twelve engraved silver coins and a pendant inscribed with a mysterious symbol.

Her search for answers ignites with the arrival of a sinister stranger and a move to her new home at Stormhaven Castle. However, the pursuit of truth turns up more questions than answers as Tia finds herself on the trail of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain. Will she escape the clutches of those who would go to extreme lengths to end her quest?

MY REVIEW

The Lost Child’s Quest by James Haddell is the first book in a new children’s/middle grade fantasy series in which we meet Tia, the brave and daring protagonist of this wonderful story. We first meet Tia at a children’s home. She was abandoned as a baby, and the only thing she has from her parents (supposedly) is a little bag of trinkets and a pendant. I can’t say too much about the plot at this point, but she gets adopted by Mr and Mrs Trevelyan and they all go to live in Stormhaven Castle!

When I first saw this book and read the blurb, I knew I wanted to read it because it sounded magical, and just the kind of middle grades that I enjoy. I’m so glad I decided to pick it up because it was such a great story and there were so many important and beautiful elements to this book!

SETTING

This book is based in Stormhaven Castle, a beautiful, ancient castle that you have to drive through to get to the island where Tia’s new home is. I won’t spoil the setting because it’s wonderful to learn all about as you read it, but I felt like I was there the whole time. I loved that this book centred on a castle and was really based in lore, stories and such amazing myths.

The school that Tia goes to is so unique and I would have absolutely adored going to a school like this one. I dearly hope one truly exists in the world because the children that go to it are so lucky and will spend some wonderful years there. Schools should all strive to be more fun and I think this is a wonderful example to follow.

CHARACTERS

Tia: Tia is the main character of this story and the first time we meet her, she really proved herself to be a brave, autonomous and determined little girl, which really surprised me. I liked her instantly. She is a lot more on the quiet side, so I really identified with her. She is intelligent, caring, a little doubtful of herself, but she quickly learns to accept herself, and above all she is bookish. Not only is she bookish, but she really loves any ancient stories and myths, and I loved this message throughout the book because so many children nowadays think that school is uncool and that books are lame, which is far from the truth. Tia was a lovely main character and I’m so excited to read more of her adventures.

Meghan: Meghan is Tia’s older sister, also adopted by the Trevelyans and she is literally larger than life. I also kind of identified with her because I’ve always been one to speak kind of loud and fast, get excited about things. Meghan grew a lot in this book. At the start, I wasn’t sure about my feelings towards her because she was a bit *too much* at times, but as I got to know her, I realised she is a lot more than just a loud little girl. She has a beautiful, happy and trusting relationship with Tia, it was a lovely thing to read about.

Mr and Mrs Trevelyan: These two are literally the best parents ever. Well, probably not, but they are the kind of parents that are always amazing, supportive, caring, enthusiastic and they are academics, so they know a lot of very interesting things. I love reading about academic parents for some reason and I think it’s a great thing to portray because, in my experience, children in France are embarrassed by their academic parents, I don’t know why, but I’ve noticed it my whole life when other jobs parents do don’t phase the kids, it’s truly strange. Anyway, enough of my rambling. Tia and Meghan’s parents are lovely, they love their children so much, are always there for them and I loved reading about their relationship and see it blossom as they all got to know one another.

Pasco: Pasco is Tia’s best friend and I think that these two make up one of the best adventurous duos that I have read this year! Pasco is a lot more on the quiet side, he is shy and unsure of himself, but Tia and he get on so well. I loved reading about these two discovering things about Tia’s treasures and I’m very much looking forward to reading more adventures these two will get up to.

The teachers: I’ll only say a quick word about these characters, but I loved them. I said the school was amazing, well the teachers even more so because they genuinely care about their students, are fun, modern, caring, supportive and their classes seemed so fun. I can only remember my primary school having teachers like this (I must have been between 2 and 6, and I promise that my school was an exception). I feel like in France, a lot of teachers (well, ones I have had at least) don’t really like their jobs, which is a shame because they could make their classes so fun, just like these teachers do. I think this was a great way to portray the school and the teachers because it made me remember my love for school and I think a lot of children reading this book will want to make their learning more entertaining, and they’ll be able to thanks to the fabulous activities at the end of the book – this was a very thoughtful and great addition!

Other family members: Finally, I just want to say that Nana Ollie and Grandpa Locryn are also the best grandparents ever. The whole family is an academic or adventurous one, which I found maybe a tad far-fetched, I’ve not heard of whole families on both sides all being academics, scientists, adventurers, etc, but it was great fun to read about!

THEMES

Family: Family is such an important message in this book, and maybe the most important part is that family is not just blood. Your family can be whoever you want them to be and I have to agree. As someone with an adopted brother, I really felt linked to these girls. I’ve never considered my brother anything other than that. I adored the messages in this book and the way that Tia, Meghan, and their parents get to know one another is truly lovely and I don’t think Tia could have landed in a better family!

Friendship: Friendship is also such an important theme in this book. Tia becomes friends with Pasco and with her sister Meghan, they are great characters and even though they are all so different, they get on well together and care for one another. Friendship is important and I’m looking forward to reading more about Tia and Pasco. I also found it a little bit strange that there weren’t any characters more on the mean side, especially in the school. There is always that one bully, or mean girl, but I suppose that because of the caring and supportive environment, there wouldn’t be so much competition and bad feelings between the students, so it actually kind of makes sense.

Myths, stories and lore: If you know me, you know I adore these themes and I had SO much fun reading all about the history of Stormhaven Castle, Tia’s parents’ discoveries, the stories they and other characters told her and Meghan, but also learning about Tia’s quest. I won’t say much more because it is such a great book to discover kind of blind, but I loved every minute of these stories and myths! I wonder what new myths will be discovered in the next books!

Treasures and adventures: This ties in with my previous point, and again, I’m not going to say much because you have to read it all for yourself. Tia has some treasures in her possession and she never knew just how important they were until things start happening to her and her family, but she soon embarks on a fun quest. It was such a great adventure and one I’m sure many children are going to love reading about, maybe they will want to go on their own adventure as well!

MY THOUGHTS AND RATING

Overall, this was an intriguing, lovely and important book that I loved every minute of and I’m sure I would have read it in one sitting had it not been for my many assignments. I had totally forgotten the blurb when I went into this book and I highly recommend this as the way to go because it was so fun learning about everything and everyone as the book went on.

The writing style was simple but beautiful. There were never too many words to explain things, which can sometimes happen and be a little boring for kids (I adore descriptions so I would have been happy with more, but I thought it was a very good balance). I could imagine all of these characters and the setting, the treasures and the adventure. I am very glad that I got the chance to read this book and will be waiting patiently (who am I kidding?) for the next book in this series which is sure to entertain children and adults!

I gave this book 4.5 stars, you can find my full ASPECTS rating below. Tia, Pasco, Meghan and all the other characters are realistic, kind, caring and supportive, which was so lovely to read about. The villain is seen a few times throughout the book, and you know “who” they are, but it’s great to see them reappear just as things get exciting during the quest. This was a beautiful story of family, friendship, treasures and fun. I also loved the activities at the end, they were an amazing addition and I think more books should include these kinds of pages! I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes stories of found family, friendship, adventure, myths, stories, treasures and important messages. I’m looking forward to the next book and reading more about Tia’s adventures!

Thank you once again to James for the opportunity to read this book. I am so glad that I was able to squeeze this one into my 2020 reading because it was a great book to end the year on, and I hope I get to read the next book soon!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this review, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

ASPECTS RATING

Atmosphere – 6.5

Start – 7.5

Pacing – 7

Ending – 8

Characters – 7

Theme – 7

Style – 8

Total = 51

4.5-star rating

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JAMES HADDELL

James has always loved stories and adventure. He spent most of his childhood in Kent reading and daydreaming then went to university in Durham. Four months volunteering for a Thai charity for children with disabilities in Bangkok after university changed everything.

He trained as a Primary school teacher, working in schools in London, before getting married and moving back to Thailand for seven years. After adopting two children and beginning writing The Tales of Truth Treasure, he returned to the UK and worked in Primary school and nursery setting as a teacher and Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-Ordinator.

James now lives in Somerset with his wife and three children, where he spends his time writing, teaching and being a dad and husband… though he still finds time to do a little reading and daydreaming now and then.

James Links: WebsiteTwitterAmazonInstagramGoodreads

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If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here:  Amazon UK  – Amazon FRAmazon US

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