Tales From Terrestria, written by Ed Dunlop are the latest Terrestrian stories to be released from Cross and Crown Publishing. The Terrestria Chronicles, an allegorical fantasy series was written by Dunlop to "honor Jesus Christ as King, challenge young readers to serve Him, and to teach them to guard their hearts for Him". Although The Terrestria Chronicles are complete, Tales From Terrestria continue the adventure with stand alone stories of new characters from the land of Terrestria. Both Tales From Terrestria novels and The Terrestria Chronicles are written for children aged 10 and older.
I received the first Tale From Terrestria: The Quest for Thunder Mountain from the publisher for free in exchange for this review. The 203 page paperback sells on the publisher website, www.talesofcastles.com for $7.99. My children Sierra, Micah, and Jonah assisted me with this review.
Set in the middle ages, The Quest for Thunder Mountain introduces readers to young Gavin, an unemployed minstrel. Sick, hurt and needing direction he fortunately meets Sir Wisdom who ministers to his needs and sends him on a quest to Mount Thelema to seek the will of King Emmanuel. The journey is long and dangerous testing Gavin's strength, will and faith. Gavin uses a special book provided by the King to guide him on his journey.
Gavin a true hero is an inspiration, optimistic and strong in his faith. For example, during an unfortunate imprisonment in the "Dungeon of Condemnation" Gavin is bitterly asked by his traveling companion, "Do you have a plan?" Gavin replies, "Nay, but Emmanuel does....He'll show us a way out of here".
The Quest for Thunder Mountain is well written but at times predictable. My older children were not surprised by plot twists nor amazed by the allegorical references. We did understand, however, that these novels could easily draw children with a limited spiritual background into deep and meaningful conversations of Christ. Indeed this is the author's mission. Dunlop dedicates a section of the website to his reasons for trying to reach children with the Gospel. According to his statistics, 85% of people come to Christ between the ages of 5-14.
I asked the kid review panel for their honest reviews of the book. Their comments included the following:
"I can see how the novel would be good for little kids or for kids who really haven't studied the Bible. It was a pretty good story, but since I could understand the symbolism, like the "Shield of Faith", etc. it lessened the affect the story had on me. I would probably recommend these to a friend if they were interested in dragons and Medieval stories" ~ Jonah age 15.
"I thought the storyline was interesting. I think if I was a little bit younger it would seem more exciting to me. The plot was very creative and different from what I find in most books. The beginning especially really caught my attention and helped me care about the safety of the main character, Gavin. I would recommend this book to kids who like Science Fiction or fantasy adventure books"~ Micah, age 12.
"I really liked the story of this book. I liked the people, the action, and that it was in the middle ages. I really like fairy tales and stories of castles, princesses and dragons. I hope I get to read more of these books. There is NOTHING I didn't like about it at all!"~ Sierra, age 8"
The Quest for Thunder Mountain is the first in the Tales of Terrestria series novels. The Golden Dagger and The Isle of Dragons are also currently available with a fourth book, Return of the Dagger planned for release Spring of 2010. All books in the series average 200 pages and carry the $7.99 price tag. In addition, a special price of 3 books for $19.99 is currently being offered on the website.