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Far World: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage

Far World: Water Keep (edition 2008)

by J. Scott Savage

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919132,676 (3.91)17
Title:Far World: Water Keep
Authors:J. Scott Savage
Info:Shadow Mountain (2008)
Collections:Uncollected, Your library
Tags:ARC, young adult literature, fantasy, handicap, magic, mystical world

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Water Keep by J. Scott Savage


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The cover caught my eye. I checked this one and the second one once I saw them. The story is very good. It's been a while since I've read this one and I found this book very interesting. Definitely one of the best books I've ever read. I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5. I can't wait to read the 3rd book!
  lilst1997 | Feb 4, 2012 |
Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

Thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas has always been tormented because he lives his life in a wheelchair. Everyone sees him as an outcast, even though he really is a survivor and dreamer and he just wishes that he could escape his life as an orphan. In an attempt to escape, Marcus creates a world in his head. Here animals talk and tell jokes, trees have personality, and, best of all, magic fills the air. He's even appropriately named this far-off place Farworld. Little does Marcus know that Farworld actually exists.

One night a mysterious man comes to the boys' house where Marcus is residing and claims that he is a state attorney. He has come for Marcus, claiming that his parents have been looking for him. What Marcus doesn't know is that this man has an alternate identity, one that could be very harmful to him. When Marcus realizes what he's up against, he tries to escape. Before harm can befall him, though, he is somehow transported to Farworld. After recovering from the initial shock of waking up in new world, Marcus meets Kyja, the girl that brought him into Farworld and the girl that is most often in his dreams. But Kyja is different. She is the only one in this world of magic that doesn't posses any magical skills. While Marcus is an outcast on Earth because of his paralysis, Kyja is an outcast in Farworld because of her lack of magic. The only true friend she has is her skyte (a creature much like a lizard, but don't ever call them that!), Riph Raph.

Together they must embark on a journey. It seems that Kyja's good friend, Master Therapass, has been keeping a secret for the past thirteen years that is particularly dangerous to both Marcus and Kyja alike and could change the fate of both worlds. The Dark Circle, the evildoers in Farworld, have caught wind of this secret and are dead-set on finding Kyja and Marcus. As the Dark Circle's power grows, it is harder and harder for the kids to stay away. Their only hope is to convince the mythical Elements -- fire, earth, air, and water -- to create a drift between the worlds. Their first stop is Water Keep. On their journey they will battle everything the Dark Circle can throw at them. Together they learn much about each other and themselves, forging an everlasting friendship.

Where to start, where to start?? Fantasy has never really been my thing. While I have always loved a good book that centers around magic, the whole alternate world has never been my personal choice. When I got offered this book, I thought, why not? I mean, I feel that since I'm a reviewer now I should expand my genre horizons. With that said, I was hoping to find a book that would introduce me into the fantasy world and give me a better look at what the genre is really all about.

The first couple of chapters of WATER KEEP started off a bit shaky. I couldn't really tell where the story was going and I felt like the characters were really mean towards Marcus. As I got further into the book, the story quickly picked up and I found myself enthralled. The author really has a talent for making a faraway place seem realistic. I felt like I was riding along with Kyja and Marcus in their journey across the country land of Farworld. The comments that some of the characters made, especially Riph Raph, were very humorous and I found myself chuckling many times. I also thought that the premise of the
book was very interesting. I honestly didn't think that the plot would appeal to me, but in the end I think it is what made the book so special. Not only did the kids go on a journey to find the Water Keep, but also on a journey of self-discovery. I think this is an important theme in books and, while it is common, J. Scott Savage was able to put a twist on it and make it original.

The one thing that really made this message stand out to me was when Master Therapass said: "The real power of magic lies within you. Who you are, what you do, and most importantly of all, what you may become." I think that this is so true and this message continues throughout the book, but not in a monotonous manner. I also think that the dialogue in the book was great. It wasn't forced and it seemed to flow well. It also fit the characters. I've found that as I read more and more I realize that sometimes the author creates dialogue that doesn't match the characters personality. In this book, however, I could totally picture the characters saying what the author had written. I found it unique that the main character in the book had a disability, but it wasn't the main focus of the story. Marcus really came to almost accept his disability and learned to succeed with in spite of it.

Overall, I found myself riveted by this first book in the FARWORLD series, anxious to see what would happen next. Even now I am waiting to find out what will happen in future books, which I hope to see plenty of! For me, this was a great introduction into the fantasy genre, which I will for sure be reading more of now! ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 10, 2009 |
Handicapped Child
  VeronicaChris1 | Feb 19, 2009 |
There is a boy who is different from other boys. He has special powers. He can do strange things just by thinking about them. He is different, has never fit in; he’s an orphan, mistreated and unwanted. He has a strange mark on him. Sound familiar? It’s not what you think; but, it is the start of a ripping good fantasy for young readers.

Farworld: Water Keep, the first in a series of what will become five books, begins with the story of Marcus, a wheelchair bound orphan bullied by his schoolmates, who can conveniently make himself unseen and who dreams of an imaginary land called Farworld. One day a man shows up to inform Marcus that he’s taking him to his long lost parents, an orphan’s dream. But something is unsettling to Marcus….

In the meantime, we switch to another world where an orphan girl, Kyja, is attempting to perform magic. It seems everyone in Kyja’s world can perform magic, but not Kyja. This has left her a shunned outcast too. Even though Master Therapass, a wizened wizard, believes she has magic inside of her, Kyja is downtrodden. Kyja’s first magical power will be saving Marcus from the man, Bonesplitter, and the adventure will begin…

Marcus and Kyja are not only special, they are the great hope for saving both Farworld and Earth from sinister forces bent on destroying them. Filled with suspense, action and all the best elements of a great fantasy, Farworld: Water Keep is a wonderful addition to our fantasy shelves.

Author J. Scott Savage does many, many things right with his tale. He invents a plethora of creatures to spark the imagination, including the Elementals which will make-up a large portion of the five story’s thematic focus as the children will have to get them to work together in order to save their worlds. The first group of Elementals we meet, the Fontasians, control water and are as otherworldly as one can imagine.

The tale opens with a surprise and continues at a quickened pace, divided into manageable chapters and sections for young readers. Critics might argue that the pace becomes overly fast, but when set within the realm of children’s literature, it’s important to remember that faster-paced, shorter chaptered novels assist young readers. And while the plot does evolve at a break-neck speed through mostly action, the exceptional foreshadowing further propels the plot. The tale also jumps smoothly and believably between worlds. Very rarely, if ever, do we get more than one world within a chapter. This provides for excellent breaking points.

Characterization is handled well. Marcus’s disability is thoughtful and matter-of-fact. Savage isn’t overly cautious with having his protagonist disabled, meeting the challenge head-on and credibly. I would like to see some further character investment, but think this will happen as the story progresses through the four remaining books, as the first novel in a fantasy series almost always spends large chunks of effort on character and setting introduction.

My only qualm is with the good old suspension of disbelief factor that plagues fantasy. I kept worrying about how the world jumping would affect the children. At times, it became too easy and convenient. Marcus’s half-there, half-here sickness was never fully resolved. I’m hoping this silly little doubt will be explained in further novels, as I’ll be reading them all.

Perhaps the thing this reviewer liked best about Savage’s style was his calling out of the Harry Potter comparisons. When Marcus meets Kyja and her world, he asks her if she can, “fly on brooms and send letters with owls like Harry Potter?” Her response? “A hairy what?” This puts the comparisons comically to rest.

Recommended for readability level grade 4 and up, as a read a-loud for younger elementary students, for students with disabilities, and lovers of high fantasy.

Review first published on Reading Rumpus ( )
1 vote Tasses | Dec 9, 2008 |
This book was seriously engaging. I also really appreciated that Savage began the story with his main character in a wheelchair. Persons with disabilities are seriously under-represented in literature. In addition, there was a strong value put on caring for others, self-sacrifice, and just being a nice person. All this is not to say that “Water Keep” got preachy or righteous, that is not at all the case. This is a fun book and one where I cared about the characters, particularly Kyja and Marcus.

If you’re depressed that there will be no more Harry Potter books and would like a new young adult fantasy series to ease your mind, this is it folks! J. Scott Savage has a five book deal, so get in on the ground floor.

For the full review:
http://www.devourerofbooks.com/2008/08/far-world-water-keep-book-review/ ( )
  DevourerOfBooks | Sep 3, 2008 |
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To my kid brother, mark Savage, who encouraged, browbeat, and cheered me all the way to the finish of this book. Thanks for all the years of solving Ultima games and reading fantasy novels. You're the best.
First words
Bundled safe in her underground burrow, with eight fuzzy babies snuggled against her warm body, the ishkabiddle woke to a curious rumbling.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Marcus is no ordinary thirteen-year-old. He knows he has some special gifts. Gifts that allow him to do things other kids can’t. In fact, he might be the only kid on Earth that can turn invisible when his life depends on it. And sometimes that comes in handy for a kid who’s confined to a wheelchair and picked on by bullies.

Then there’s Kyja. She’s anything but extraordinary. At least that’s what she thinks when she compares herself to her magical friends on Farworld. Kyja’s tried to learn the magic her friends know, but sometimes if feels like she’s from a different place—a different world.

Earth and Farworld have a special link and Marcus and Kyja are about to find out they were switched at birth—a plan that protected and preserved both of them. But the time has come for them to reconnect and fulfill their destinies. Together, they discover their weaknesses are really their strengths on an adventure to save both worlds from an evil enemy.

In book one, Marcus and Kyja must find the unrevealed City of Water and convince the Water Elementals that their quest is a risk worth taking.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159038962X, Hardcover)

Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place- Farworld.

When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.

But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass's secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld's only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals- water, land, air and fire- and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.

As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst the evil Dark Circle can throw at them- Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S'Bae.

Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:54 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Found in the desert as a baby by monks who named him, thirteen-year-old Marcus, who has been confined to a wheelchair ever since he can remember, knows nothing of his background and endures the difficulties of his daily life in various foster homes and schools by dreaming of Farworld, a magical place whose pull seems to be getting increasingly stronger.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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