When Riley finds herself lost and alone in the woods after chasing after her escaped dog, she fears that she will die there, unable to find her way back to camp. But luck is on her side, maybe, and a mysterious stranger comes along and carries her off. But she finds herself with far more questions than answers.
The idea behind this story, is excellent. It's somewhat reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz (at least the movie version. I'm ashamed to admit that I have yet to read the books), and even mentions it a time or two (which earns it bonus points from me). Like Dorothy Gale, Riley suffers a trauma and then wakes up in a strange place. However, she doesn't receive the warm welcome from the locals that Dorthy gets in Munchkinland. I'm sure her welcome would have been much warmer if she'd killed the wicked witch upon her arrival though.
I really felt like I was in Riley's shoes for most of this story. I spent a large portion of the book completely confused as to what was going on, just like Riley, and I wasn't even really able to figure out what was going on before Riley did, and I'm usually pretty good at figuring major plot points out long before the characters do, so bravo Ms. Zook for keeping me confused.
This book had action, adventure, mystery, and some pseudo-mythology, overall a really good fantasy combination. It let me down in the end though, and left me with a lot of unanswered questions. There were a few things that I was hypothesizing about while reading, that failed to happen or be revealed, and the ending wrapped up very quickly, almost like Ms. Zook just ran out of ideas (or maybe she has so many still swirling around in her head for these characters that there is going to be a second book. I'm genuinely hoping that is the case). This book ended basically in an HEA when I was really looking for a cliffhanger, considering where the characters were towards the end.
Overall I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, because it was really well written, a very unique idea, and it kept me engaged through the end. The missing half-star is for the quick wrap up at the end. I would still definitely recommend this book to fantasy fans and I will be checking out some of Sara's other books in the future. - Katie
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