Thursday, December 31, 2009
The Henge Betrayed: Book 1: Flight by Janet Lane Walters
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Young Adult
Publisher: Mundania Press
This adventurous fantasy begins as four siblings flee their home. Prince Zedron is consumed with power and upsets the balance of the land in an effort to extend his borders. He means to slay his own kin and take their lands for his own. The childrens’ parents stay behind to protect the secrets of the Henge while they journey to meet their teachers in the city. Each sibling must use their special ability: earth, wind, water, and fire to protect and care for one another. Along their journey they meet friends and foes and learn that their greatest strength is their bond and love for one another.
There is a great sense of urgency right from the start of this book. Each chapter is told from the varying perspective of the siblings, keeping the narrative fresh. Magic abounds in many mediums. Walters creates new and interesting ways to bend the magic to heal, ward off predators, grow food, and listen to gossip on the air. I especially enjoyed reading about one sibling’s affinity for air and how she uses her flute to “play the hiding song” and keep them from danger.
Alizand, Prince Zedron’s son, is the most interesting character in “The Henge Betrayed”. His situation is a stark contrast to the siblings’ warm and supportive life in the Henge. Alizand lives a Cinderella tale with a vicious step mother and step brothers that conspire to steal his throne. The castle in which he lives is full of power hungry, greedy nobles that will stop at nothing, even if it means torturing young children, to gain influence with the Prince. It is only through his involvement with the siblings from the Henge that he learns true friendship and love.
Book 1, Flight, is brimming with magic, a full cast of characters, and a journey full of danger and adventure. The group of orphan children fending for themselves in the tough city reminded me of Oliver Twist with playful hints of Peter Pan. Walters has written a charming first book to her series.