Thursday, July 26, 2012

Xor: the shape of darkness by Moshe Sipper
295 pgs.
Target audience: Ages 9-14
Rating: Griffin

 On the day Lewis turns twelve, his life changes forever. His house is burned down killing his dad, leaving him alone, his mother having died in a car accident four years earlier. But that’s not all, Lewis is told he’s Lord Shaper from another planet, one which is in dire peril. Before he can come to grips with this alarming information, he’s taken to his home planet, Xor, where he receives shaper training. Things move pretty quickly for Lewis after this. Along with the Grand Magician, K’Bol, Professor Nand and Master Long, Lewis sets out on a quest to save Xor from the Realm Pirates who are destroying it piece by piece. This is a funny, imaginative and clever adventure perfect for middle readers, especially boys who love gadgets and inventions. The plot skips along at a nice pace right  up until the surprise ending. Lewis is a strong and likeable character, but the transition from curious, wide-eyed boy to the leadership role he plays in the quest is abrupt and feels unrealistic. The prologue about his mother’s accident though interesting does little to enhance the story. The dialogue could use some polishing to make it flow more naturally. The humor threaded throughout falls short when relying on popular culture, but zings with originality and authenticity when it stems from the author’s imagination. Moshe Sipper shows tremendous potential with this interplanetary debut. Recommend to fans of The true meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
(Book provided for review by the author)

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