Posted by: Nyxks | October 13, 2007

Book of Reality

Book of Reality
by John Peel © 2006
Llewellyn
ISBN 0-7387-0843-7
205 pages
Paperback
$4.99 (U.S.) $6.50 (Canada)
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

This is Book Nine in the “Diadem Worlds of Magic” series. It is guaranteed to run at least one more book (Book of Doom).

Book of Reality is set on Calomir (the home world of Pixel), who’s society exists in Virtual Reality (VR). It begins with Pixels disappearance from Calomir a year earlier. That year’s adventures are recounted in the previous eight books. This book gives us a look into the underpinnings of Calomir’s existence. It helps us to understand Pixel’s perceptions and attitudes.

The youngsters (Pixel, Jenna, Helaine, and Score) continue to grow in their abilities and their interactions with each other. In other words, they are typical teens who are growing up.

What could be more relaxing (and less threatening) than a visit to meet pixel’s parents? Probably nothing, except that they don’t exist (at least in the usual understanding of the term); Pixel is a wanted fugitive; and nothing is as it seems (okay, the last part is a given on a world devoted to life in VR).

They split into two teams (the addition of Jenna to original trio has at least made this feasible, even if she has caused a certain amount of friction), one trying to contact “the authorities” and one trying to gain access to a house other than Pixel’s.

The authorities are unable to comprehend that three of the four youngsters are from off-planet. They assume that they are escaped Drones (whose sole function has been to maintain the VR world for Users [such as Pixel]). From that it follows (logically it would seem) that they, and Pixel, must be involved in an unrest that has begun to blossom among the Drones.

I won’t go any deeper into the story itself, except to warn that they encounter an enemy they had believed dealt with much earlier (and permanently at that). Suffice it to say that it continues the story and evolution of four very different youngsters from extremely different backgrounds into a group capable of handling almost any situation. Individually they have their weaknesses, as do we all. But as a group they are learning to rely on each other’s strengths.

This series of books can help to instill both a sense of wonder, and a sense of self-worth in the minds of young folks who read it. It encourages them to see the world (even if it a fantasy world setting) through different eyes and to think their way through things; to think outside the box and to appreciate differences. It won’t necessarily make the readers better people, but it will encourage them to TRY to be better. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I have come to expect a certain number of production problems in books produced nowadays (typographical errors and missing illustrations normally), but only found a couple of misaligned pages in this book (the margins are skewed), which was a pleasant surprise. Obviously, in a work of fiction, typos would not be a major problem, but it was pleasant not to run into them anyhow.

The saga is scheduled to continue in Book of Doom. The series is heading, as it must, to a climax. Whether this upcoming book is the end or not it is sure to be an exciting adventure for the juvenile market.

This is really a very good series for the target market. It incorporates fantasy with reality and demonstrates the ups and downs of being a youngster learning to use his/her own powers, both of reasoning and of a magickal nature. It demonstrates that nothing is impossible for a determined individual who has friends to help. And that those friends are frequently found among those least like yourself. One should not judge by appearances, but by actions.

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