(The Impossible Quest - Book One)
by Kate Forsyth
'Tell your lord to beware; the wolves smell danger in the wind...
Wolfhaven Castle has been attacked, and only four escape capture... Tom, trained to scrub pots, not fight; Elanor, the lord's daughter; Sebastian, a knight in training; and Quinn, the witch's apprentice.
Somehow, if they are to save their people, these unlikely heroes must find four magical beasts from legend and awaken the sleeping warriors of the past. But first, they have to make it out of the castle alive...'
I'd never heard of this series, knew nothing about it, and happened to stumble upon it while browsing the catalog of books for a book party my sister hosted recently. I'm all about castles and witches and such. I saw that these are middle grade books, and short, and was all over that. Sometimes I really enjoy the ease of younger reader books. You get a nice quick story without being bogged down in a lot of details and side stories, without having to work your brain too hard. And for me, with a million things screaming for attention in my brain, quick and easy is sometimes the perfect brain cleanse.
I ordered the whole series (five books) from the book party and have finished reading the first. When they say this series is for middle grade readers, I'd say it's a very easy level middle grade. It was still quite an interesting story though. Quick and simple, yet clever in places. There are hints of violence and possible death but it doesn't go into details, just enough to know what's going on without loading you down with more troublesome facts. It is for younger readers, remember. But even in this quick pace, you do get to know the characters quite well. And there was even some mystery.
Our little group of heroes is sort of thrown together in desperate circumstances as the castle is attacked. They come from different situations in life, from lowly cook's son Tom, to arrogant squire Sebastian, privileged Elanor, and mystical Quinn. There is bad blood between Tom and Sebastian right from the beginning, when Tom bests Sebastian in a ball game. Sebastian's arrogance clouds his judgement, and he has a hard time accepting that a simple servant's child might be smarter than him. Elanor is sort of cliche wimpy and goody-goody, but she's coming around. And Quinn might be the most interesting one of all. She's smart and strong and not afraid to put boys in their place. They make an interesting little group as they are forced to learn to deal with each other and work together.
In this first book, we get to know these four kids a bit before the castle is attacked and they are forced to flee to save themselves. Their goal is to try and find help, but the castle witch has told them there is a much bigger mission before them. They must gather the items and wake the 'sleeping warriors of the past' if there is any hope of saving the castle and their loved ones. This first book has them on a desperate journey through tunnels and caves, on a mysterious boat on a river, and seeking food, shelter, and help at another castle they find. This castle is cold and creepy and seemingly empty though. Was it really a good idea to stop here?
I really enjoyed this story and have immediately started on the second book.
Have you read The Impossible Quest series? Or even heard of it?
Do you read younger, middle grade books?