Monday, October 1, 2012

Quest for the Scorpion's Jewel

Amy Green’s Quest for the Scorpion’s Jewel is the first book in a fast-paced, action-packed YA fantasy series. The story features several key characters: Jesse, a crippled boy who helps run his Uncle’s inn, and who is treated like a slave; Captain Demetri, a legendary tracker and one of the main villains (but not by choice); Kayne, a smart-mouthed elderly healer; a Silas, Rae, and Parvel, members of the king’s Youth Guard sent on a dangerous quest; and Samar, a lonely yet crafty desert man who befriends the quest takers.

After a short chapter introducing Demetri, which makes the reader rather suspicious of the King’s integrity, the story follows Jesse as he risks punishment to help three strangers who show up at the inn after curfew. With Parvel seriously injured, Silas and Rae reluctantly recruit Jesse to help them complete their quest. Though hampered by his crippled leg, Jesse’s quick thinking and loyalty prove his worth to the team. Even more, Jesse uncovers a terrible truth: each year the king assigns the smartest, fittest, and most capable youths to the Youth Guard, sends them on impossible missions, and then secretly hunts them down and kills them. While the deaths are deceitfully blamed on the “rebellion”, it’s actually the king’s method to snuff out citizens that hold the potential to someday challenge his reign.

In this repressed land, God seems non-existent. However, characters like Parvel and Samar cause Jesse to really question his thoughts and feelings about God, the One who Samar says numbers the stars. Could God be real after all?

Note to parents: At one point, Jesse pretends to be a sorcerer in order to find out the location of the jewel.

What I Like: The story was fast-paced—not given to excessive prose yet still with enough detail to flesh out the make-believe world—and the characters likable. I also enjoyed how Jesse used logic and courage to overcome his handicap. The story ended on a bit of a cliffhanger (somewhat predictable), but I still feel intrigued enough to pick up the next book in the series to find out what happens.

What I Dislike: It was a good read. However, I think the first chapter should have been a prologue instead since it was the only chapter told from Captain Demetri’s point of view.

Overall Rating: Very Good (Excellent for those at the younger end of the target audience.)

Age Appeal: Ages 8 and up (In my opinion, it would probably best appeal to ages 8-14.)

Publisher Info: Warner Press, 2011; ISBN :978-1593174323; Paperback, 172 pgs., $7.99
Buy it Now at for $6.29
OR Buy it at for $7.99
OR Buy the Kindle version for $7.59.

Special Info: Check out the second book in the series, Escape From Riddler's Pass (Amarias Adventures).

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