Parents' Guide to

The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Creative take on quest tale marred by hurried storytelling.

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This adventure-fantasy offers plenty of wit and lots of creative world-building, but is marred by hurried storytelling. There's lots to love in a world with magical books, dragons that carry people via fireballs, and orphans finally getting a chance at real adventure, but wow does freshman author Wade Albert White hurry through all of it. Yes, the characters are in a hurry to complete the quest in four days or else, but it doesn't mean the storytelling has to rush-rush-rush. White barely introduces characters -- especially Hiro, the third member of the quest -- barely explains how the magic or the magical council governing everything works, and barely describes the various tiered worlds the kids rush off to in order to finish the quest.

He also barely explores the inner worlds of his characters -- a big disappointment since we have such a great hero in Anne. Minority characters rarely get to head up quests in kids adventure-fantasies, so it would have been wonderful to give her thoughts a much bigger presence. Perhaps if a sequel is in order, readers who stick with Anne and friends will get to learn more about everything missing in this book.

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