Hello, bookworm, it’s lovely to see you again. Do come in, but be careful of the wet floor; the Art and Craft books invited several genres to a Christmas crafting hour early this morning and it was rather messy, so it’s taken ages to tidy up. The True Crime genre got a little carried away, and sulked when I explained that fingerprint kits and spent bullets aren’t usually found on Christmas trees. They cheered up when the Classics cut the blood spatter patterns into snowflakes though, and they can almost be mistaken for polka dots instead. I’ve confiscated the more gory ‘decorations’ which the True Crime books explained were part of a ‘serial killer Santa’ theme (they were far too realistic for my liking) so it’s all rather tasteful again now! Speaking of eyes, that reminds me of the cover of a book I read recently. It’s called Frank Penny And The Last Black Stag, by Jeremy Elson. Have you read it? Here, sit down with this cup of tea and mince pie while I tell you all about it.
Here’s the blurb: Power is not for the weak or faint-hearted.
If Frank, Cas, Gabby and Anya want to find the next two guardians of the Simbrian and keep them safe, they need to journey across the dangerous borderlands and into the dark and shadowy world of Kzarlac, sworn enemy of Byeland.
Ruled by the fearsome Etamin Dahke, Kzarlac is no place for four naïve teenagers. Keen wits and a large helping of luck are no guarantee they will succeed and return safely.
Driven by their desire to protect the delicate peace that has existed since the time of Kester, their quest is about to take a deadly turn, and the exposure of an unconceivable secret may make Frank regret ever having started.
Here’s the little about the author: Jeremy Elson is the author of the Frank Penny series of adventure books for young adults. Jeremy is a home educating parent himself, and Frank Penny was borne out of his desire to bring to life a home educated child, as well as tell a straightforward and compelling adventure story.
And here’s my review: Frank Penny And The Last Black Stag is the third book in this series, so I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t understand the story. The author kindly provided a summary to bookworms on the blog tour, but I decided not to read it until after I was at least a quarter of the way through, since this novel can apparently be read as a standalone. And I have to agree, it can, but I admit it helped to know a bit more of the back story.
I liked the way the previous adventures are referenced subtly in the book, rather than thrown at the reader in stilted character conversations or as random explanations which slow down the narrative. The worlds created by the author were detailed enough to let my imagination run free and feel part of the action, without being so heavy on description as to be distracting.
I enjoyed the dialogue between Frank and other characters, which helped me understand the nature of each one, despite not having read the previous books. Frank seemed someone I would like to have on my side, and he wasn’t afraid to challenge others or stand up for his beliefs and decisions, even if they weren’t always popular.
There were plenty of gripping scenes which kept me turning pages even when I’d told myself I’d stop at the end of the chapter. All in all, in my opinion this is a well written novel, which can indeed be read as a standalone but those who do will likely want to go back to the beginning of the series, just to enjoy the adventures from the very start. I can picture Frank Penny capturing the imagination of my son when he’s a little older. 4 / 5 stars from me.
If you like the sound of Frank Penny And The Last Black Stag and want to purchase a copy for yourself, just click on the book image to go to the relevant page on Amazon. I don’t get anything for doing this, I’m just being a helpful bookworm. Thank you to Jeremy Elson, Eyrie Press, and Rachel’s Random Resources for the digital advanced reader copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
Here, let me take your cup and… whatever is the cat staring at? Oh goodness, it looks as though those sneaky True Crime books have discovered their confiscated eye ball decorations, added some glitter and hung them on the Christmas tree! I must go and shoo them before they find out where I hid their homemade severed fingers… Farewell, bookworm!