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To be honest, when I heard that Farworld 3: Air Keep was coming out, it had been so many years since the second book (Land Keep), that I had to go back and read the second book again because I couldn’t remember the storyline very well.

It was worth the wait.

The stakes are even higher for Marcus and Kyja in this latest installment of the Farworld series.  Marcus is a native of magical Farworld who was hidden on Earth since he was a small child by Master Therapass, a Farworld wizard working against an evil organization called the Dark Circle.  An unfortunate side-effect of his original magical transport to earth is that Marcus sustained injuries to a leg and an arm, severe enough to need a wheelchair thereafter.  Kyja, on the other hand, is a native of Earth who grows up on Farworld in some sort of cosmic swap with Marcus.  Her disability is that she is the only non-magical human in Farworld.

Master Therapass hid these two children in an effort to protect them until they were ready to fulfill their joint destiny to save both worlds from the Dark Circle.  In order to do so, they must recruit four powerful creatures called “Elementals.”  They need a Water Elemental, a Land Elemental, an Air Elemental, and a Fire Elemental.  The problem is that no one on Farworld has seen these Elementals in centuries.  When we rejoin the story in book 3, Marcus and Kyja have already found the Water and Land Elementals.  Master Therapass has also hidden Marcus back on Earth and forbidden Kyja from “pulling” him back to Farworld until it is safe to do so.

But headstrong Kyja senses that something is wrong and pulls Marcus to Farworld anyway.  The rising action is relentless from that point as the youthful duo fights the Dark Circle while seeking to find and recruit an Air Elemental to join their quest.  The fate of both Earth and Farworld hang in the balance.

Book 3 actually begins with a helpful summary of the previous books.  I wish I had known that before going back and reading Book 2 again!

I’m happy to say that this latest installment in the Farworld series is the best so far.  I really liked the previous two, but I truly LOVED this one.  Scott Savage was unrelenting in the action, tension and conflict.  Sometimes in other middle-grade fantasy, the tension seems contrived.  Not so for Savage.  It is all completely believable and results in the reader being pulled into the story and being swept along for an amazingly breathless ride.

It is extremely gratifying to see a disabled protagonist in a fantasy series – and even more gratifying that he becomes a serious action hero.  This series belongs on library shelves.  I highly recommend Farworld 3 for all readers ages 10 and up, and my only hope is that the fourth book doesn’t take so long to be published!

Review by Craig R. Everett, PhD

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Farworld: Land KeepIn this sequel to Scott Savage’s first Farworld book (Water Keep), Marcus and Kyja continue their quest in Farworld: Land Keep to recruit a member of each of the four elementals in order to save Farworld by opening a gateway to Earth.

There is no lack of action or suspense in this new installment of the series. Moreover, Savage effectively raises the stakes and delivers a suspenseful fantasy thriller sequel where the villains are more evil, the monsters are scarier and the magic is more spectacular. Despite the intensity, it is certainly appropriate for any children ages eight and above.

I particularly like the “jumps” by Marcus and Kyja back and forth from high fantasy Farworld to current-day Earth. It reminds me of all the times when the crew of the starship Enterprise travel back in time and visit our era on earth. It’s jarring, yet fun to see our favorite fantasy characters in familiar real world surroundings.

As Marianne Moore so insightfully expressed it, poetry (or fantasy for that matter) is either real frogs in imaginary gardens, or imaginary frogs in real gardens. What Savage has deftly done in this series is combined those two paradigms into the same story. The chapters that take place on Earth give us the imaginary frogs in real gardens, whilst the chapters on Farworld treat us to real frogs in satisfyingly imaginary gardens.

What more could a reader ask? I loved the book.

$18.95
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Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 374 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (October 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1606411643

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