Friday, June 1, 2012

The Secret Queen by Mark Miller

In this third book of The Empyrical Tales, it is a year after the events of The Lost Queen. Zandria and her younger sister, Olena, seem to be growing apart.

But now, Olena has mysteriously disappeared without explanation. To make things worse for Olena, she is having trouble with her magical abilities. With the help of an unusual bronze ring, Olena leaves the crystal Castle Empyrean in disguise. She soon steps into a land of giant crocodiles, unending deserts, ancient pyramids and even mummies! Now Olena must discover the truth about the dinosaur-like race that lives beyond the southern border before they attack Empyrean.
All the while, she struggles with faith in her own abilities.

Will Olena regain her magic in time? To find out, she has to become The Secret Queen.

The third installment in the Empyrical Tales, this book has the same sense of wonder that the previous ones do. Although the main character is a girl, this book, this entire series is a great read for adults as well.

The story begins where we left off, with Olena learning how to rule her kingdom, how to get her magic to do as she wants. We get a sense, however, of her restlessness in her situation, which leads her to seek out an adventure of her own. We get to meet three new and fascinating characters who are trapped in a ring, and who teach Olena some important rules not only for ruling her kingdom wisely, but for living a happy life. The many challenges that the young queen endures add a level of tension to the novel, especially since the reader doesn’t know yet if the three characters who are guiding her are completely trustworthy.
What is best about this series is that it adds a strong heroine to children’s literature. Olena does not sit around waiting for others to rescue her. She actively pursues her own destiny. This is not something we see that often these days in literature.
As will all the books in the series, the lushness of the descriptions, be it of landscapes or characters, paints a wonderful picture for the reader, letting us discover new aspects of Miller’s world along with Olena.

The plot is, in my opinion, the best of the three books. The action starts quickly and keeps up throughout the entire book, so we never feel bored. The strange characters, including a turbaned creature who doesn’t speak, add mystery and might even send a chill down the reader’s back.

This is a wonderful addition to the Empyrean tales, and I can highly recommend it to those of you looking for a little magic in your reading lives.

No comments: