The Silver Sphere Book Review
Blurb: Shelby Pardow never imagined killing someone. That's about to change.
While hiding from her troubled father in the local library, Shelby stares at a flashing instant message on her computer: YOU ARE NEEDED. She discovers a portal that opens and teleports her to the planet Azimuth, where soldiers await. Here, she is not a child but a warrior, Kin to one of the six Aulic Assembly members imprisoned by Malefic Cacoethes, the daunting leader of the Nightlanders.
Malefic, the evil spawn of the demon Biskara, razes towns and cities in his quest to rule Azimuth, and yearns to turn his forces against Earth. Yet every time Biskara gets close to achieving his malevolent goals, the Assembly uses the Silver Sphere, a sophisticated armillary device, to thwart him.
With the Assembly deposed, Biskara directing Malefic's conquests, and the Silver Sphere out of reach, Shelby is thrust into an unforgettable quest with her fellow Kin. She must learn to kill and lead an army into battle, or Azimuth—and Earth—will fall.
This book was a surprise! The blurb caught my eye because I'm a sucker for fantasy books and there aren't enough high fantasy reads (most are riding the current contemporary wave) with elements of sci-fi as a bonus, but this was a welcome addition to my library. Two worlds combine in this story where I was expecting it to start out in the high fantasy world. Instead we are introduced to main character Shelby as she escapes her alcoholic and abusive father and runs to the library for solace. Her home life is a bit tough to read in that I sympathized with her tough situation and was relieved when she escaped. A message on her computer serves as the bread crumbs to lead her to another world. But she isn't alone. Another boy named Zach witnesses one of his old school friends mistreated by bullies in school and rescues him with a fire alarm, only to return home that day to his parents fighting amongst themselves. He soon receives the same message on his own computer and is soon transported. Shelby and Zach are one of two in a group called The Kin, young members of an assembly with special abilities joined together to fight an ancient evil.
On the surface, the story may sound like many other works of its kind but author Michael Dadich stamps out his own world and mythology with unique characters. I really liked Shelby and considering the rough life she had in the beginning, I was rooting for her chance to make her mark on the world and save the day. Books like this are what inspire many people, children especially, to feel like they can achieve anything. Gearing this toward young adults was perfect. I also love the sense of good fighting evil. In our current times, much of the entertainment is greyed out to be 'more realistic' rather than to entertain and tell a good story. I loved that I got a sense of good vs evil in this book and seeing the characters grow from their dire beginnings made this all the more enjoyable for me.
My last fave series was the YA fantasy books in the Iron Fey series and some instances reminded me of that series. Mainly main characters that started out ordinary in their own world as the underdog and grew to be extraordinary heroes. There's a love story here that doesn't hit the reader over the head and thankfully stays away from the tired love triangle angle that has been prevalent in YA fiction today. Unlike the Iron Fey series, this focuses on a group of characters and relies on third person give a more objective POV. I kind of wished we stayed on Shelby's and Zach's journeys in particular as they were the ones to stand out for me. Nevertheless the story is effective in its storytelling and reading this was a wonderfully refreshing book for me. I'm eager to continue the series as I would love to see how Mr. Dadich continues the story and the world he created in The Silver Sphere. I highly recommend this book not only for young adult readers but also adult readers who enjoy being transported themselves to other worlds with characters and a story they can relate to and root for. Keep an eye out for select illustrations sprinkled throughout the book!