The Lantern Menace by Darren Craske

6 Jul

 

Finch Balfour is not having a good day.

Having helped Princess Castria steal a lamp from Rufus Lightfoot, the well-known spell caster and wizard, they are attached by hag bats, horrible dark creatures, and the lamp is taken. That is only the beginning of their troubles.

When Rufus Lightfoot informs Finch that the lamp is actually a Limbo Lamp containing the soul of D’Monica Grace, Finch knows that they are in deep trouble. D’Monica Grace is the dark witch responsible for the most devastating time in Fanthia’s history: the Phantom Dawn.

Banished into the Limbo Lamp by Lightfoot himself, Lightfoot knows that they must get the Limbo Lamp back or their entire world will be in mortal jeopardy. The last time D’Monica Grace was in power, she raised an army of the undead. Who knows what she is now capable of?

Things go from bad to worse when Lightfoot informs Finch that he will have to journey with him to Frigidia, one of the most horrible places in the kingdom of Fanthia to get the lamp back. Even worse, Princess Castria, a spoiled brat in a tiara, will have to come with them.

The journey will change all of them in ways that Finch can’t even begin to imagine. They only have one choice: get the Limbo Lamp back or die trying. If they do not succeed, it is not only their lives at stake but the entire world itself…

I am a huge fan of Darren Craske’s Cornelius Quaint series and was anxious to read The Lantern Menace, Craske’s first foray into young adult fiction. The Cornelius Quaint series is known for its wicked funny humor, its wonderful plot twists and incredible characters. I wondered how Craske’s writing would work for a young adult audience. I needn’t have wondered at all.

Darren Craske has penned an incredible tale full of adventure, plot twists and turns, a dangerous journey filled with nightmarish beasts and characters so real they leap off the page. It’s also a wickedly funny book with many pop culture references that will have you laughing out loud.

What I loved most about The Lantern Menace was…well, everything. Craske deftly weaves a tale that hooked me from page one and had me chuckling on page two. It’s rare to find a young adult novel that is so engaging and so delightful, but Craske pulls this off with grace and aplomb.

Where Craske really excels is in the plot and the dialogue. It’s not easy to write dialogue at a young adult level but again Craske succeeds brilliantly. And the plot, while having many plot twists and turns, wasn’t difficult to follow. Instead, The Lantern Menace is an incredibly engaging read that didn’t let me go until the very last page.

With pop culture references, spoiled princesses, dangerous beasts, a quest, magic and spell casting, close calls and daring feats, The Lantern Menace is a thrilling, enthralling thrill ride of a book.

Like The Chronicles of Narnia, Bridge to Tarabithia and the Harry Potter series, The Lantern Menace is sure to become a classic in the world of young adult fiction that can be enjoyed by anyone at any age.

If you read only one good book this summer, make sure it’s The Lantern Menace by Darren Craske. A thrilling read from start to finish, it has everything you could want in a book and then some. One can only hope there is a sequel!

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