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Monday, August 13, 2012

Journeys Through the Unknown: An Anthology of Supernatural Adventures by Heather Beck

Journeys Through the Unknown: An Anthology of Supernatural Adventures by Heather Beck
Publisher: Treasure Cove Books
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (125 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astibile

Gnome Genome

Trapped in a mysterious garden, Meghan must play games with tricky gnomes to regain her freedom.

A Weird Twist Of Fate

When Judith finds an ancestor’s diary in the attic, she makes a startling discovery about her family.

The Secret Oracle Of An Egyptian King

After Dr. Riley and Vaughan unearth a mummy’s tomb, they are plagued by a deadly curse.

Cold Territory

The Palace of Ice is beautiful and brimming with gems, but Dale’s learning the hard way that once you enter, you can never leave.

Kingdom Of Sugar

Clayton’s adventure in a sugar wonderland becomes a nightmare when the candy comes alive.

If Journeys Through the Unknown taught me one thing it is this: be cautious. Not everyone you meet is necessarily whom they appear to be at first glance.

In Gnome Genome an act of kindness leads Meghan into a world she never knew existed. The plot quickly thickens as she attempts to outsmart her gnome competitors so she can go home again. The challenges were creative and well thought out. The ending was predictable but still left me satisfied.

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to strike a balance between being proud of who you are and fitting in with a society that may not understand. A Weird Twist of Fate explores this tension as Judith discovers an old family secret. Judith’s character was quite intriguing but some continuity and logical errors distracted me from what was happening to her.

The Secret Oracle of an Egyptian King starts out with a jolt of adrenaline that foreshadows later events beautifully. The mystery Danny and Vaughn wrestle with has a fairly simple premise but it is well executed and snaps into place just as the narrative begins to require an additional conflict in order to keep the reader interested.

Could you resist instant wealth? How do you know whom to trust? When Dale discovers something too good to be true in Cold Territory he must decide whether to heed the warning of someone he’s just met. This was by far the strongest tale in the collection. It’s one of those rare stories that is equally enjoyable for adult and young adult readers.

After Clayton gorges on candy he mysteriously ends up in a world made of sugar. Kingdom of Sugar had a unique premise but the conversations between Clayton and his mother about not eating so much sugar felt forced. It would have been more compelling to start with Clayton’s discovery of this new world as the cute yet scary creatures he meets in it can easily stand on their own.

When it’s all said and done Journeys Through the Unknown is a solid collection of genuinely creepy tales that triggered as many questions for me as they answered.

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