Heir of the Forgotten Realm
Michael J. Svigel
Baker Trittin Press (2006)
Reviewed by Maya Landers (age 10) for Reader Views (3/08)
“Heir of the Forgotten Realm,” by Michael J. Svigel, was a tame, somewhat dull book that failed to engage me or make me even mildly concerned for the character’s sake. A dragon, Haarlok by name, comes and burns the kingdom of Trallia; her motivations are unclear. The main character, Lukas, has an irrational fear of fire and cowers back while this is happening. His bride-to-be, Princess Lilia, is carried away by the dragon, forcing Lukas to come and rescue her. The first thing he must do is get the legendary armor that will protect him from the dragon’s flame, thus enabling him to rescue Lilia from the dragon’s fiery keep.
This story did not hold my attention because, first of all, everything seemed too easy; Lukas survived — and conquered — challenges other knights who had more experience and knowledge had been unable to pass through, and Lukas did it all too quickly. Also, Lukas is driven by the need to rescue Princess Lilia, but the reader never really sees if and/or why Lukas loves her; the reader does not know if Lukas really loves her or just wants to rule. Lilia sits in the dragon’s lair, waiting to be rescued, but why does she not try to escape? She could at least attempt something; but no, she waits for Lukas to come and release her from her fiery prison.
Second of all, things happen very quickly — too quickly — and the only challenges are major ones that Lukas passes very easily; there are no minor challenges, there are no nuisances that Lukas has to deal with. He just goes from here to there, never stopping, never falling behind.
Third, Lukas only thinks about what is going on right then in the story, and he never stops to consider what might be happening to Lilia, or if he will ever get to his home again. He is confident that he will win, that he will survive, and, as he has had no trouble in achieving everything he has attempted, his confidence is only boosted more. He never mourns if someone dies and forgets about their death in a matter of moments. For instance, when his friend dies, he acknowledges the fact; then he quickly forgets about it in favor of the “excitement of his quest.”
I would not recommend “Heir of the Forgotten Realm” to my friends because the ‘heroes’ did not have very demanding challenges. He easily passed through one thing to the other, making the reader unworried for Lukas’s safety, even bored. I do not think that Svigel did a very good job illustrating difficult challenges, and even if at first Lukas had a bit of trouble, he quickly recovers from it, swiftly moving on to more tests of his courage and bravery — but are they really tests? He passes them all so easily, it is uninteresting to the reader.
Categories: YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12