Not really, unfortunately, but almost!
For those of you who don't already know, I'm a Mainah—that is to say, a person from Maine. While I don't live there now, it is where I was born and raised. It's where my muthah and fathah and the rest of my family live. What's WICKED cool is so does the author of our Spotlight book, Paige Pendleton.
When Paige's Review Request landed in my inbox, I smiled with pride. If anyone was going to review a fellow Mainah, it'd be me, ayuh! And so, no one else on the staff even saw it venture to the Review Request list—I took it for myself.
Those of you who are 'from away' (not from Maine) are probably thinking I've gone and bumped my noggin' with the way I'm talking—well, technically writing—but it's not very often that I get to let loose and use my Maine-speak. Every now and again you'll hear it slip out of my mouth, but it's a rare treat.
Paige and I became fast friends on Facebook even before I started reading her title (I was backlogged for Reviews at the time). We Mainefolk stick together. There aren't many in the world (other than a Mainah) who would even understand the following sentences:
"I pahked my cah up the rud apiece."
"How 'bout some bugs an' steamahs for suppah?"
"How 'bout some bugs an' steamahs for suppah?"
And it's for that reason, whether we actually speak that way or not, Paige and I will remain friends; it's also why she and I will keep the translations of them to ourselves! ;)
When the Driscoll children move into a new house on Black Ledge one summer, their plans for exploration of the residence turns more adventurous than they anticipated. Discovery of a hidden cave unveils an entirely new realm of possibilities...a realm of magic, monsters, and murderous Elves, among other things. Mayhem and creatures of the night lurk in the unlikeliest of places. With the help of friends—both old and new—Eleanor, her brothers, Jack and Rob, and her younger sister, Flora must locate a missing Rune stone before it's too late.
Watch Book Trailer:
Gems for Writers:
World Building. Not only does Pendleton capture the essence of Maine in the first book of her Black Ledge Series—I felt like I was there in Camden: walking the sandy shore, hiking the trails of Camden Hills State Park, or enjoying the ocean views from the summit of Mt. Battie—but she creates another world in conjunction with the one I've grown to know as home, a world once known to us all but one that has been long-forgotten. And she does all this believably—incredibly so. Part of me wanted to venture to Camden and Black Ledge to see if I could find that magical passage in the rock face; part of me wondered if I once already had.
Characterization. Paige's characters literally come to life off the page. The main characters are unique and consistently so throughout the book, as are the supportive characters—the Driscoll parents, the librarian, the cast of magical beings, the horses, and even the quirky pair of crows—all of whom have a memorable and distinctive role in the story.
No Hocus Pocus. The magical system in Pendleton's series is resemblant of natural magic, a system that is tied to the Earth. The magical races have innate access to a magic long-forgotten by the Human race, but one that can still be accessed once they are reminded of it. These access points—the leylines—are used throughout folklore and fiction alike; sometimes called portals, fairy rings, or hallowed ground, they are a key part of Pendleton's Magic System. The simplicity of both the usage and the limitations are also backed by folklore. She borrows other elements from folklore, too, but has given them a new and original twist. Her Noctivagi race—likened to vampires (the non-sparkly kind)—is a prime example of this, and her incorporation of Light and Dark Elves breaks the worn-out archetypes of such races.
Conclusion: Not only were the story and characters rich in details and originality, Pendleton can write! Her descriptive passages and dialogue sequences were perfectly placed to break-up the action (which existed in the story only where it made sense!). I was happy to find near-impeccable editing for grammar and timeline fluidity, with only a few hiccups here and there. I will be (and looking forward to) reading the next book in The Black Ledge Series, and you'll find a Spotlight of it here as soon as I do!
Seize the Book & Seize the Majick,
***The Keeper and the Rune Stone (The Black Ledge Series, Book One) (2012), by Paige W. Pendleton, is published by and copyright Pig Wing Press. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.