Monday, March 22, 2010

The Minions of Time

The Minions of Time (The Wormling Book IV), is the fourth novel in the Wormling series and continues the fantasy saga of Owen Reeder. The authors, Chris Fabry and Jerry B. Jenkins, have written other notable Christian fiction series.

Owen, the son of a bookstore owner, had found the Book of the King and in reading it, discovered that he was chosen to be the Wormling. He’d been entrusted with the book and a worm named Mucker, the transport between the Highlands (Earth) and the Lowlands. Owen’s quest to find the King’s Son, who would lead forces to battle the Dragon and reunite the Highlands and the Lowlands, led him to discover that he is, in fact, the Son of the King.

The Dragon plans to kill the Son and his betrothed bride, after which he will cleanse the earth with fire. He’s eagerly awaiting his minions to hatch. They are dragon-type creatures that will round up Owen’s followers and age them with one poisonous bite. The Dragon has the Son’s sword and a missing chapter of The Book of the King in his possession.

The action begins on page one as Owen is flying over the Lowlands in a cage full of prisoners. The cage is shot down into the sea and he narrowly escapes being eaten by a giant sea monster. Erol and his clan aid in the rescue, and Owen reveals to them and his former teacher, Mordecai, what he has discovered about himself.

Meanwhile, Watcher has been left with a copy of The Book of the King and the promise that the Wormling will return. She's nearly tricked into the Dragon’s lair by a Wormling look-alike until Rotag, Batwing, and Tusin pull her into an underground cavern.

As Owen travels toward the White Mountain, he recruits many followers to his cause, although he faces skepticism over his royal lineage. He must also find his mother, sister, bride, and also Watcher. Throughout the story, Owen remains courageous and loyal to his cause, while bringing together the Lowlanders to fight the evil Dragon. He relies on words from The Book of the King for strength and hope.

The plot moves toward fulfilling a prophecy: when the two worlds collide and the four portals between worlds are breached, the end of the evil one is near. The Dragon uses his gemstones to destroy White Mountain, an important signal of the coming of the Son. During the battle at White Mountain, Owen plays on the Dragon’s anger to retrieve his sword before escaping to the Highlands with the help of the dirt-munching Mucker.

Once there, Owen faces many people from his Highland past who play an important role in the battle between good and evil. Connie finds the minion eggs and hatches them before they are at a full level of potency. Clara and Mr. Page join Owen in defending the attack of the minions. He does find his sister, Father, and bride. The story closes as his Father sacrifices himself to destroy the Minion nest and as his Lowland friends are being destroyed in battle.

What I Like: The many Biblical parallels are creatively wrapped into a fantasy world. The setting and characters are engaging, and despite fantasy not being my favorite genre, I found it to be an inspiring page turner.

What I Dislike: This novel is not a stand-alone. For full understanding, it's best to have read previous novels. The chapters can be very short and this builds suspense, but the plot can be somewhat predictable for older readers. The book ends abruptly, and to find out what happens to Owen, you'll have to read book five!

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: Ages 10 to 14

Publisher Info: Tyndale House, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-4143-0158-7 ; Paperback $7.99

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