Countryside: The Tears of Adina
Almost immediately upon starting this book, I found myself thinking, “What a great middle-grade fantasy story!” And I think, for the most part, that held through to the end. This was my first jump into the town of Countryside, but it was main character Luke Rayburn’s second magical adventure. We learn that, in book 1, Luke, alongside friends Matt, Samantha, and Marti, unlocked the secrets of The Book of the Wise, and, in book 2, they are needing to find another great power, The Tears of Adina, before the darkness does. With the limited information Luke starts with, he works with his friends to follow the breadcrumbs to piece together the mystery of the Tears, and why the darkness is after them. But Luke is also being hunted, leaving him to wonder: are they racing against the darkness? Or are they unwittingly leading the darkness to the location of the Tears?
One thing I appreciated about this book is that it’s not necessary to have read book 1 to enjoy book 2. While some context to the characters and the world may have been helpful, as there was some mythical terminology I was unfamiliar with, the author tries to fill in the gaps and keep the pace of the story. As a result, Countryside is a world that is very easy to jump into. And it is not without exciting turns, good plot, and fun characters.
The writing and storytelling was consistent, and the author really leads his readers through the adventure. It seems to be a series that would be better with the younger age range of the “middle grade” category. That being said, there were quite a few similarities to other fantasy-type stories; there are elements that are rather Narnia-esque and Hogwarts-esque, which pulled me out of its originality at times.
In Countryside: Tears of Adina, there are centaurs, a school that teaches subject-specific magic, and souls that are trapped inside objects and animals in an overarching good versus “the big bad” story. These weren’t new ideas for me and they won’t be for others who have read books like Harry Potter or the Hobbit either. Despite that, though, the story is engaging enough to stand on its own and is sure to be a fun read for the middle-grade group. I think there are a lot of elements there that also make it a good gateway to reading for kids.
|Page Count||311 pages|
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