Sunday, February 19, 2012
Book Review for The Sacred Ring by Leah Sanders
Synopsis: The Sacred Ring by Leah Sanders takes place in Ireland and is a story about a teenage boy, Kynan Murphy who has been informed by his parents that they no longer love each other and his father is moving out. Stunned and distraught, Kynan goes to school the next day in a preoccupied frame of mind. Kynan goes to Catholic school and they are going on a field trip to a Cathedral where the remains of St. Valentine are buried. While there a strange priest appears to him, says something in Gaelic and disappears. His friends Michael and Brianna are standing next to him and are as perplexed as he is, since there is not supposed to be a priest on the site. Brianna knows Gaelic and translates the priest’s words. The gist is that the ring of St. Valentine will bring love back to those who no longer love each other.
Kynan is then determined to find St Valentine’s ring. With the help of his two friends, they undertake a journey that requires research, courage, and a little bit of lying. They travel all the way to the Giant’s Causeway (a string of huge cylinder shaped stones that connect Ireland to Scotland) where they encounter danger and ultimately reward.
What I liked: this is a good age appropriate book for readers age 8-14, depending on the reading level. It would also be a good read aloud at home or in the classroom-probably ideally for 5th and 6th graders. The dialogue is well written, the characters sympathetic and the storyline readable and interesting. I looked forward to coming back to the book each evening to read another chapter.
What I didn’t like: For one, it’s a little too short. I think the author could have fleshed out her plot and characters a little more-added a few more twists and turns. Secondly, even though the story takes place in Ireland, the characters talk exactly like American kids all the way down to the slang. It was hard to remember the kids were Irish with all the “dudes” and “cr-ps” bandied about. That’s the final thing I didn’t like. I didn’t see how inserting that last word on almost every other page added at all to the story or the dialogue. I don’t care if that’s how kids “really” talk. Kids don’t “really” go off on their own, scouring caves in Northern Ireland searching for ancient historical artifacts. Readers don’t want realistic experiences. They want superior ones.
Despite these shortcomings, I still think Sacred Ring is worth checking out. The caliber of the story is as good as any I’ve read in my local youth section of a library. As a teacher, I’ve read many similar books from the Scholastic book fairs that came to our school. It’s a book for students who like adventure, mystery and suspense.
To read a free sample go here
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Buy on Kindle for $1.99
I was given a free copy by Astrae Press for my honest review.