Balance Keepers: Fires of Calderon
by Lindsay Cummings
Middle Grade, ages 8-12 (though I would consider it more 7-10)
Asteroids: No content issues to be aware of.
Similar to: Harry Potter and The Iron Trial
(Who could go wrong with that?!?)
Series: Book 1
review by Stegosaurus Wilde
Over the summer break, eleven-year-old Albert goes to a magical school for Balance Keepers, people who help keep the natural world in order. While there he befriends Birdie and Leroy, also eleven, and the three become a team. There is danger and friendship, and of course the fate of the world is at stake.
· Friendship – the three main characters, who have never had close friends before, learn how to have friends and to be friends. They learn what it means to be there for each other and to trust that the others are there for them.
· Bullying – there is a rival character, Hoyt, acts like a huge bully toward Albert, Birdie and Leroy. Unlike most books, however, Albert’s classmates and friends stick up for each other, and when the adults are informed (or witness it), they are quick to put a stop to it.
· Positive Adult Role Models – the adults in this book aren’t mean, checked out, or bad examples. They are intelligent, present and encouraging.
· World-Building – the fantastic underground world in this book is… well… less than fantastic. There is so much potential for description in this world, but there’s too little to go on. The landscapes, creatures, and magic here need more background and detail.
· Missing Information – There is just not enough backstory here to satisfy me. The reader doesn’t know why the underground world exists or why/how it affects the outside world. That’s important information! Inquiring minds want to know!
You should also check out Bronto Incognito’s review of The Copper Gauntlet, which is book 2 in the Iron Trial (Magisterium) series!