Title: Adventures in Thousandworld: The Darkenstar (Adventures in Thousandword #1)
Author: Jospeh A. Davis
Illustrator: Yulia Ryabtseva
Cover illustration: Therese Larsson, Tess of Sweden
Translator: Joseph A. Davis
Publisher: Eken Press
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade fiction, Fantasy
Book format: Hardback
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Description: When the refugee boy Kasir appears in the little Swedish town of Kippsby, twelve-year-old Julia notices at once that something about her new classmate is a bit strange.  But she doesn’t realise just how different he is until one fateful night when they are attacked by terrifying living shadows.
Along with her brother Edvin and an old vagrant called the Troubadour they are forced to flee through a magical portal to Kasir’s homeland.  It is a world of boundless beauty, where art comes alive – but the shadows threaten to destroy all its wonders.  While Julia and Edvin struggle with a new language, a new culture and unknown perils, they discover that they have a secret link to Kasir’s world.  Perhaps they might even have the power to save it.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is such an amazing adventure story, I just couldn’t put it down!  Julia lives in Klippsby, a town in Sweden along with her brother and mother.  While at school she realises there’s something strange about the new refugee boy in her class.  Kasir doesn’t seem to speak Swedish very well but is obsessed with drawing.  When she gets the chance to look at what Kasir is drawing his sketch almost seems to come to life, but when a fire alarm goes off in her school signalling what seems to be a drill, Kasir runs away, and it’s up to Julia to find him.  There’s something about Kasir that Julia just isn’t sure about, but when strange shadows soon appear in her house, Kasir, Julia and her younger brother Edvin run out into the night to escape them, a journey which takes them not only away from their home, but into another world.

Thousandworld The Darkenstar book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

I have really enjoyed reading this book so much and read the whole thing in almost one day!  The story is easy to get into right away with the refugee boy Kasir looking and seeming to act a bit odd to Julia and the other children at first.  I like Julia’s character, despite how she acts and thinks towards Kasir in the beginning.  The story follows Julia, as she and the others end up being chased by some dark and very dangerous shadows.  With some help from the town’s homeless drunk, known as the Troubadour, the four of them all end up travelling to a different world.  As the book’s title suggests, there are a thousand worlds in Thousandworld and the one they end up in is just the first of a few which we end up seeing in the book.

At first we don’t know what is happening and I like the eerie atmosphere that’s portrayed when they first arrive as well as when they encounter any shadows.  I also like the way that one of the characters is shown to be so unprepared for an adventure, having been relaxing at home, that they come without shoes into the middle of the woods (an interesting aspect that’s often overlooked in adventure stories)!  I like how this story progresses at quite a fast pace but with lots of good detail where it is needed.  We get to know more about the worlds that Julia and her companions visit as well as finding out how certain characters have specific abilities such as being able to paint objects in the air that then come to life!  I won’t give away the plot but there is a part of the story at some point where the characters visit an Academy to learn their talents.  You might think it a little Harry Potter in style at this point, but I like what happens in the academy and I enjoyed the twist as Julia and Edvin can’t even understand the language spoken by those at the Academy leading to interesting problems with communication.

The story is so interesting and exciting from start to finish and I really couldn’t put this book down when I started reading it.  The shadow creatures we encounter are so creepy and I love how there are a few illustrations throughout the book which really do help to add to the story.  The illustrations appear occasionally on one side of the page and feature a black and white detailed picture of something that’s happening within the recent chapter, complete with a border.  I absolutely adore these illustrations and wish there were more of them.  They really helped to set the mood of the story.  I especially liked one image, and moment, in the story when Julia looks into a mirror which was quite emotional.  I also really love the cover of this book which depicts an important scene in the story (you’d have to read it to find out exactly what’s happening!).

There is a good build up to the ending and I like what happens with all of the characters.  If I’m honest I was expecting a particular twist that happens, but I still didn’t know how the whole story would go and I really like how it ends with all three children playing important roles in the adventure.  The story has a good ending but leaves a clear opening for future adventures in the series and I really hope to be able to read more of this series in the future!

Overall story is so good, so interesting and so exciting that I just couldn’t stop turning the pages.  There’s something so good about the writing style that I was instantly sucked into Julia’s story and I like how, despite some flaws in her character, like her ability to judge too quickly or get annoyed too often, that she grows as a character too and learns from her mistakes.  I felt myself connecting with Julia’s character and I like what she discovers about herself later in the story, and I am looking forward to reading more about her adventures in the future.

Thousandworld The Darkenstar book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fantasy adventure.  If I’m honest I would have loved the book to be even longer, I wanted to stay in the world of Thousandworld, places like Sulallia and Paradisum for so much longer, but as a first novel in what looks to be a brilliant series, this really has been a wonderful adventure and I can recommend it to anyone who loves a good fantasy story featuring some great characters.

What do you think of this book?  Would you like the ability to paint anything that comes to life?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂