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  • A thrilling tale

    Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite The Age of Akra by Vacen Taylor is the first book in the Starchild series. The Prophecy of Seven Nations states that one child will bind them and bring peace once again. When a dangerous threat comes upon them, the prophecy falls into place and the ministers arrive, seeking out the child to be trained by Sah Dohba. This is the elemental master that will train the child chosen to be the protector of the people. Mai has the gift of thoughtbank which allows her to see the thoughts of others, but she also has a secret: she can thoughtbank with animals. When she stands before the ministers among the other chosen children, the last thing she expects is to actually be chosen. Now, she must leave her home and make the treacherous journey to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts, which proves to be one that comes with several surprises. Her brother Long volunteers to guide her along the way and as the two make their way through to the Valley, they encounter a young boy that claims to be the Starchild. As they face a harsh environment and dangerous creatures, they must also face an enemy that comes straight from the Underworld. The plot centers on a prophecy that sets the scene for a chosen child, which is where you then see Mai who finds herself directly in the middle. The story has an undertone of sibling rivalry between the two as Long compares himself to the intelligence and talent of his sister, often putting his own abilities down. Vacen Taylor excels at weaving the dynamic between the two siblings, which reflects how they see themselves. Their journey is where the action of the story lies with the children facing traveling through a harsh environment with limited food, dangerous creatures, sandstorms, and an enemy from the Underworld. Akra is the third important character seen throughout who faces his own destiny as the Starchild and, by being thrown into their path, he pushes them in a different direction. The journey of the three is woven together through the form of teamwork with each playing a role in each other's destiny. The story is a clever and delightful read for all ages with a plot offering excitement, danger, and action woven into the Age of Akra, making for an addictive and thrilling foray into epic fantasy.

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