"I haven't seen an elf-blooded child in the culling in many years," came the words from Old Makiva, the mystic. Zed blushes knowing he looks mostly human but the pointed ears give his elf blood away. Zed has come to see Old Makiva with the hope of getting a guildculling charm that will hold enough magic to let him be selected for the Silverglows, the Guild of the Mages. His dream is to make enough money in that guild to be able to take care of his mother.
Hundreds of years before, the humans, elves and dwarves of Freestone walked freely through the city living in harmony despite their differences. They worked together for a better world. Then came the Day of Dangers. Monsters spread across the land of Terryn and in one day destroying this peaceful world butchering every person who crossed their path, elves, dwarves, men, women. No one was spared.
Freestone was one of the few cities that survived. Today their great wall and the magical protections created by their wizards keep them safe. Four High Guilds create the foundation upon which Freestone stays strong and free and today is the day of the guildculling, when young people will be chosen for the Guild that will become their purpose. The Knights Guild, the Mages Guild, the Healers Guild, and the Merchants Guild await them.
The Guildculling ceremony is the most important day of a young person's life. It's the day she or he is chosen by one of the guilds. Zed and his best friend, Brock, are about to be surprised. Before the day is over, Zed and Brock will find themselves chosen for one of the most dangerous of the guilds and almost immediately will be sent outside the safety of the wall. There they will discover along with their new leaders that something has gone wrong. The magic of the wizards which has traditionally come from the "focus" is breaking down. Terror grips the young warriors as they see their leaders' confusion and disbelief. The tools of their trade which have traditionally protected them are failing. What is overcoming them? Will Freestone ever be safe again?
With their integrity, courage and heart Zed and Brock are instantly characters you want to root for. The other young people who were chosen to be part of their guild inspire both hope and derision. Together the young team watches its leader to measure if she is honorable and trustworthy. They watch as the king turns his back. It's like watching the earth slipping out from under your feet with nothing you can do to stop it.
Competition, betrayal, loyalty, loss, courage and sacrifice run riot through the story as the layers of danger get more and more complicated.
The dangerous challenge they face captures you at the gut level and the characters are so appealing that you want their story to go on... and on....so you don't lose touch.
A great adventure and it's just beginning!
320 pages 978-1484788011 Ages 9-13
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
In one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters, best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel have high hopes for the future. Zed desperately wishes to join the ranks of the Mages Guild, where his status as Freestone's only half elf might finally be an asset. Brock, the roguishly handsome son of merchants, is confident he'll be welcomed into the ranks of the Merchants Guild.
But just as it seems the boys' dreams have come true, their lives take a startling turn . . . and they find themselves members of the perilous Adventurers Guild.
Led by the fearsome Alabasel Frond, the guild acts as the last line of defense against the Dangers-hungry, unnatural beasts from otherworldly planes. And when the boys uncover a conspiracy that threatens all of Freestone, Zed, Brock, and their new allies-Liza, a fierce noble, and Jett, a brave dwarf-must prove their worth once and for all.
This start of a thrilling new series is sure to be a hit with readers who like their fantasies clever and action-packed, with tons of humor and heart.--from the publisher