Friday, August 29, 2014

Reader's Review: "Warriors of the Edge: The Search for Stone" by Katie Bridges

"Tarek Ortzen wants what any twelve-year-old kid wants, a day to himself so he can play games in his gaming booth. He gets his chance when he signs up for the role of Stone in the latest war game, Warriors of the Edge. He figures the game will help him escape the real world and its troubles. But after one day of nonstop play, Tarek wishes he'd never heard of Warriors of the Edge. The game has brought nothing but trouble into his life. "When the game begins to blur the line between reality and fantasy, Tarek finds himself caught between those who believe in the game and those who oppose it. Is the game trying to warn him of danger or lead him into it? Tarek doesn't know who to believe.
"As Tarek's home world faces the threat of destruction, he must determine whether the character he plays can make a difference in their real lives." -Synopsis from Amazon
I admit, the blurb does tend to make this sound like your typical "innocent-boy-becomes-chosen-one-and-is-thrust-into-a-life-or-death-situation-merely-for-making-the-one-choice-that-set-him-off" cliche... But the way it starts—within the virtual world, as characters wait anxiously for their hero—drew me in with assurances that this wasn't going to be like other "sci-fi destiny reads."

For one thing, the hero is not extraordinarily gifted or singled out in any super-human sort of way. There aren't really qualities that only the hero possesses. He literally is no different, no more skilled than any other characters; his distinguishing trait is merely that he happens to land the virtual role everyone has been waiting for. 
For another, the hero is not isolated. Bridges fills her cast with many colorful characters, each with a role as vital as that of the principal character. If even one of them were missing, the whole mission would fail. No character felt like "filler" or superfluous, and the pacing was balanced for a well-planned adventure.

Key, too, was the always-worthwhile message of discovering a purpose for your life that was bigger than you ever thought possible. True, Tarek is thrust into a life he does not want after a shiftless existence—but we come to expect that of heroes, don't we? So Bridges doesn't stop there. She also includes a character who has made assumptions about his destiny, and he is afraid of losing himself if he allows it to come true. How many of us think we know where our lives are going, and we actively avoid it because we think we will not like it once we get there? How many times is this ever the case?

The Search For Stone was a great and awesome read, and I would recommend it to any fan of sci-fi, adventure, and just good clean fun!

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