Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett
Published: March 06, 2015
Source/Edition: Provided by author in exchange for an honest review, eBook (Kindle)
Summary provided by Goodreads:
On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.
Zaria is what you think is a normal 13-year-old looking for the adventure that she reads in her books. When she encounters a river troll, she strikes a deal that she doesn’t follow through with because she doesn’t know if it really happened. After a couple of uneventful days, she forgets all about it. Until her best friend, Cristoffer, is nowhere to be found. After striking another deal with Olaf the troll, Zaria and Cristoffer’s other friends set off to save him! What really surprised me about this book was how much fantasy aspects where in this book. Let me explain. On the outside, we see that it involves trolls. However as you read more of the book, you get introduced to all kinds of mythical creatures and legends. Zaria’s world is filled with trolls, witches, elves, elk-folk, dragons, wyverns, changelings, fae, and so on!
I really enjoyed Zaria’s story. She was a great character to begin with. I loved that she was a reader like all of us. It really helped to relate to her, especially since she loves fantasy. She’s shy and smart but as her story progresses she becomes this strong, brave, and selfless person. She goes on a journey to save her friend and in the end she gains close friends herself. I enjoyed the secondary characters as well. I loved the loyalty and selflessness that they all displayed. I love how they were very protective of Zaria. They were definitely more responsible and more mature than the 13-year-olds that I know.
The concept was really interesting and Gillett really executed it well with her writing. The writing was filled with descriptive imagery and the illustrations by Eoghan Kerrigan really helps with the visualizations of the mythical creatures. The writing is also easy to follow and very likable. It reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson series especially since it targets the same age and population. Middle school children will absolutely like this one! The plot keeps you wanting to read more. The world building was great, as well. I really wanted to know more about the different realms involved but I guess we’ll learn more about it in the other books.
Thank you to the author, Keira Gillett, for providing me with a copy of the novel. Make sure to pick up a copy of it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble! Later today, I’ll be posting an interview with the author during her blog tour! Keep a look out!