Oh Migosh, Belle's Middle Grade Books Library loved "The Pack, The Dare and The Draugar!" The popular (7,200+ followers!) Instagram middle grade book reviewer was nice enough to read "The Dare and The Draugar" after I told her I thought she'd like it, based on her book picks, and offered to send her a free copy. I was really honored, because she gets a couple hundred books a year to review. (I know -- fun, right?) And...she liked it! I'm still glowing! So what did she have to say? This, from her July 24, 2022 post on Instagram. "This was a terrific dark upper MG with a fantasy twist on the summer camp theme.
"I love how this book shows this alternate world's magic system, while at the same time exploring themes such as nature & its importance, friendships, & trying discover who you are. The whole idea of the forest & everything that lies within was so facilitating to me.
"While the author does have some familiar beings like the fae, there are so many other imaginative & creative beings as well. And not just beings, so much imagination & creativity in here period. I absolutely loved the Sentinel Tree & what it could do, & I adored Mr. Silva & THAT whole story. So good. Of course MacUmba has my heart. What a incredible “dog.” I read this after my pup passed, so that was a little hard, but thank God this dog in the story is ok. Lol I couldn’t have taken an animal death in a book.
"The 1 thing I didn’t like was the MC [main character] Harmony. She was so mean. She’s so worried what other kids will think of her if she does or says certain things, but she doesn’t care what they think if she’s absolutely horrible to them??(Not hating on the writing/author, this is a realistic interpretation of a teen like Harmony. Teens like Harmony annoy me in real life, lol, so of course they will in a book.) She had some character growth by the end-making amazing friends like the 4 she gains in the story helped a lot with that. So with that growth I’m even more eager to read a sequel. Because I love everything else so much.
"I think my favorite kid of the 5 would be Olivia. She’s just such a great kid in my opinion. I loved the whole mystery aspect as well, as far as 1 character's mom & especially her dad! So intriguing! I can’t wait to learn more, & see the direction it takes.
I love the camp setting, & also the unique aspect of it also doubling almost as a magic school for the 5 kids.
I think the setting for this is the redwood forests of California. I’ve never been there, but I feel like I have through this book. Vivid, detailed, & imaginative writing. Very atmospheric.
"Really enjoyed that & what they’ve learned so far. I especially loved that each kids magic words they use will be based on their root language-from their ancestry.💜
"There are some darker parts that’s why I say upper MG, but there’s so much adventure, magic, mystery, danger, suspense, family secrets, & more.
"Short chapters as well, so you really fly through this, which I always love. Can’t wait for the sequel. Beautiful cover by Mariani Creative as well.💜
Belle's Middle Grade Library, Instagram ~ July 24, 2022
You can read the full review on her Instagram account, here - along with her recommendations for a lot of great MG (Middlegrade) books: instagram.com/bellesmiddlegrade
You can find Belle and her book picks on YouTube too: Belle's Middle Grade Library