My YA fantasy reviews are rarer than they used to be because some young adult fantasy I find a little too young for my taste or they dwell rather a lot on schools, so I don’t read a lot of YA fantasy these days. This book, however, was, as all good YA fiction is, enjoyable by someone old enough to be a grandmother.
The Book Knights by J.G McKenney is a YA fantasy with a unique premise, that of a world where words have magical power, reading is banned, books are burned and readers imprisoned and executed. The Book Knights are a secret ancient order whose role it is to protect books. The story revolves around Arti a teenage girl whose parents taught her to read. They have a hidden library and at the beginning of the book it gets found and burned. Her parents are taken into custody but Arti escapes. Subsequently she learns that she is the one who can wield the magic pen with the power to remove the evil witch from the head of the corporation.
One aspect of the book that gave it a nice touch was the mentions of what reading means to various characters and the lovely memories they have around reading. I also like the idea that reading gave one protection from the evil head of the corporation. Those who don’t read fall easily under her power, so reading really is freedom.
The story is tight with lots of dramatic tension, the pacing good – not too slow but not too fast either—and the characters complex, for the most part, and well-drawn. Apart from the occasional typo and bad habits (too many sentences starting with an ‘ing’ ending participal) the writing is quite good. I enjoyed the story and any author would probably appreciate the power the author assigns to words. We all know words have power, but this book takes that as its premise.
It’s a clean read, suitable for anyone from around 10 yrs old up.