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Zack Loran Clark

Author of The Adventurers Guild

7 Works 328 Members 6 Reviews


Works by Zack Loran Clark


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In this story, Melanie is an orphan living in an orphanage who wants to go have adventures and has a special skill and talent where she can open locks, any locks and then one night a visitor comes to the orphan home and offers Melanie a chance to become an apprentice to a magical person.
So, Melanie becomes an apprentice for a local witch and starts having adventures, and soon learns things are not as they seem or as she thought they were. Things are in a bit of a mess in their world and there's the underlying message of finding and being true to yourself. I can see this appealing to fans of Nevermoor and it's an enjoyable read.
If you're a fan of Middle Grade, Nevermoor, or similar MG series then I'd recommend checking this one out. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Penguin Group Penguin Young Readers Group/Dial Books for letting me read and review this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Kiaya40 | Jun 19, 2023 |
Fantastic first book. If you've ever played D&D, this will hit every perfect spot. Great start to what promises to be an amazing series.
smallerdemon | 3 other reviews | Jul 5, 2021 |
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Twilight of the Elves was like Lord of the Rings, but MG. I loved it! There were elves, dwarves, and even a necromancer! Seriously, it's like this book was made for me. I really enjoyed reading this one to my son, and we've already gone online and ordered the first book, The Adventurer's Guild. Even though this is the second book in a series, we didn't feel lost or confused by the world or the characters. The authors were informative, but not overly so. You shouldn't feel bombarded with facts if you've read the first book, but you'll feel adequately informed if you haven't.

I really enjoyed the story and how relatable the characters were. The more mundane aspects of their lives were things my son could understand, while we simply enjoyed the magical and fantastical elements. For example, one of the characters mentioned not having time to brush his teeth, and my son thought that meant he should be able to skip brushings every once in awhile. I had to tell him that he wasn't actively fighting monsters, and therefore had no excuse not to brush his teeth.

This book prompted a lot of conversations between me and my son, and I liked how involved he was with the story. I've been reading chapter books aloud to him for awhile now, but this is the first time he's played an active role in the story. I think that alone says something about the quality of this book. He wanted to pay attention and ask questions instead of simply drifting off to sleep. More often than not, I would leave his room with him still awake and asking me to read just one more chapter.

Twilight of the Elves was a really fun and enjoyable read! The world-building was amazing, the characters were believable (wish there had been more character development since this was the second book), and there was plenty of action and adventure! Like I said, very Lord of the Rings. I cannot wait to see what this duo comes up with next! The ending definitely left room for more.

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doyoudogear | Oct 11, 2019 |
I meant to read this earlier and use it as a fantasy pick for my Book Explosion meeting in October, but I didn't get around to it until November. So now it's an adventure pick for November! Which it fits perfectly.

In a medieval fantasy/post-apocalyptic world, Zed Kagari knows his only chance of a different life is to be chosen for a good guild. Being half-elven and with a mother in the servants guild, he's been overlooked and persecuted for most of his life. Even his best friend, Brock Dunderfel, who is assured of a good place in the Merchants Guild with his family, feels a need to constantly protect Zed. After a run-in with a noble's son, Micah, and an encounter with a mysterious fortune-teller, the big day arrives. Along with some shocks for all.

Now Zed, Brock, Liza (Micah's noble sister) and Jett (Zed's friend and a dwarf) are apprentices in the most notorious and potentially deadly guild in the city. They'll be venturing outside the walls, going up against the monstrous Dangers, and working for the strange and crude guild leader, Frond. But first they'll have to survive their initiation and a deadly conspiracy that could destroy not only the Adventurers Guild and the small group of friends, but the whole city.

This is definitely the first book in a series as it ends on a major cliffhanger; after Zed and his friends defeat a horrible and traitorous enemy, they're clearly not going to have much time before they're plunged into the next conflict. The world building is fast and furious, slapping together a picture of a medieval, feudalistic society with horrendous monsters and a lot of class and race prejudice that's based both on history as well as culture. The viewpoint jumps back and forth from Zed and Brock, although Brock is more clearly fleshed out, along with some input from Liza. Zed is clumsy, shy, and a little naive. He desperately wants to be accepted and safe, to have meaning in his life and do something important. Ultimately, he wants a family to accept him. Brock is a more complex character. He's accepted his privilege while recognizing that not everyone has the same life he does. He's often patronizing in his care of Zed and torn between his need to take care of Zed and his other friends and the demands made on him by his family and the Merchants Guild. Brock has a lot of pride and uses his words like a weapon - it's hard for him to accept that his guild might be lying to him and that he may have made the wrong choices.

Liza is a fascinating, although somewhat stereotyped character and I hope she will be given a more central role in later books. Unlike the others, she chose to join the Adventurers Guild, looking for a life outside her stifled existence as a noble's daughter and knowing the knights guild refuses to let women fight. She's a natural leader and, even more important, is able to be flexible and examine her own motives and beliefs, recognizing when she's made a mistake or is prejudiced against others.

The plot moves at a rapid pace, leaving readers little time to get acquainted with the more subtle emotions and characters in the book and frankly that's why I like middle grade rather than young adult literature! While the book could have dwelt on Jett's injury and the feelings and impact of various tragedies, there isn't time - there's another crisis, another monster, another conspiracy awaiting readers. In some ways, it reminded me of John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series with the main characters having to deal with their lives not going the way they expect and discovering secrets and political intrigue as well as magic. It's a darker story, certainly, with some terrifying monsters (Dangers) and no promise of a happy ending any time soon, but readers who want an absorbing fantasy are sure to fall for this one.

Verdict: Readers who like fast-paced adventure and fantasy will gobble this story up; the only drawback is the major cliff-hanger at the end of the story and how long they'll have to wait for a sequel. I also hope to see more attention given to the female characters like Liza and Frond. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781484798546; Published October 2017 by Disney-Hyperion; ARC provided by publisher; Purchased for the library
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JeanLittleLibrary | 3 other reviews | Nov 24, 2017 |



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