The Book of Names
D. Barkley Briggs
Navpress, Jul 2008, $12.99
In Independence, Missouri, grieving the loss of their mom, Haydn and Ewan struggle to move on past her death. Ewan dreams of an arch, which seems to be calling for him to come. When he finds the arch, he walks through it and realizes he came through a portal to his dream realm of Karac Tor. More philosophically pensive about their “Velveeta Cheese” lifestyle having already ended, Haydn worries about Ewan, so he follows him through the arch.
As they explore this strange realm with no Nyquil, soccer or Kansas City nearby, they begin to meet locals such as Flogg the gnome, Sorge the warrior monk, and Asandra the Mirling. The siblings also learn that Karac Tor is under siege from the malevolent Sorceress Nemesia. The brothers know now why Ewan dreamed of the arch; they are the desperate last hope of the forces of good to defeat the evil one and her treacherous minion.
THE BOOK OF NAMES is a terrific first book coming of age fantasy starring two likeable young men having no time for grief as they are thrust into a situation and a world totally unprepared Hayden realizes he is just a sophomore not a superhero. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the two quite different in outlook siblings cross through to Karac Tor and never slows down although the ending is overwhelmed with too many unresolved threads (setting up future books apparently). Still save the world teenage fantasy fans will appreciate the brothers Barlowe no longer traveling on I-70.