Review

“A deftly crafted and thoroughly fun read … especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections.” —MBR Midwest Book Review

Leadership is Hard

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“…he’d seen a scroll that told him the appearance of the Xami foretold the rise of great ruler—Good news for me, he thought with satisfaction—” Yidi, The Caves of Wonder

You’d think that as the Emperor of Sericea with absolute power you’d have…absolute power. Not so much when you’re not quite the age of majority and your sorcerous stepmother, the Dowager Queen, is Regent and plans to stay in charge – and over your dead body, if necessary.

When we first meet Yidi in The Silk Road he’s a royal pain in the backside – an entitled pipsqueak who relies on his power to have someone executed with a snap of his fingers to get his own way.

 He’s led a very sheltered life – he hasn’t even been allowed to leave the castle and he has no friends. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself on the run with two strange kids – and the girl is really bossy – after overhearing his stepmother plot his death.

 He quickly finds himself completely out of his depth in a country where unknown discoveries await. The trio finds a group of people in tattered clothes shackled together in “Chain Gangs,” hoeing the earth and being kept in line with a large whip. This forces Yidi to open his eyes to the many injustices that his people are suffering, learning quickly that “unity doesn’t mean equality.” And it’s only the beginning of his disillusionment.

 With the queen in hot pursuit, Yidi must overcome his bewilderment at his situation. His character eventually begins to transform as he begins to accept that being a good ruler requires showing compassion to ordinary people.

 By the second book, The Caves of Wonder, he in even more invested in becoming a good ruler after wresting the throne back from his stepmother and steps into a leadership role as he and his companions travel across Sericea. But the others are focused on their own dreams and goals, outside threats abound, and it’s a constant struggle to keep them together and alive.

Leadership is hard!


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