Welcome to my stop on The Grotto Under the Tree Blog Tour hosted by CBB Book Promotions! I've got my review for your reading pleasure as well as a giveaway. Oh, and be sure to follow the rest of the tour here. Enjoy!
Sebastian and Sara mistakenly descend into a mystical land where elves, mermaids, gnomes and other mythological creatures live. The two discover they have stumbled into an ancient battle between these fair folk and evil creatures called the Kylo. Their guide on this journey is Capri, an elf lord who is on a quest to find his lost tribe. The Kylo chase the children and Capri in his flying galleon north into the Arctic Circle where they find the most unlikely ally. During the final battle the children learn about sacrifice, love and ultimately forgiveness.
To be honest, I really didn't know what to make of this book when I first received the tour invite in my inbox. It sounded interesting, so I thought I'd take a chance on it. Luckily, the book turned out to be likable.
Sara and Sebastian are both in 5th grade and are best friends. While in school, the learn the legend of the big, old oak tree that sits outside their classroom window. During a storm, the oak is damaged. When Sara and Sebastian are walking by the now damaged oak tree, the notice a hole that leads them into a grotto filled with beautiful and magical beings. However, there are also dangerous beings in this grotto. Little do Sara and Sebastian know that they've just got themselves into a dangerous war between these creatures underground. Will Sara and Sebastian make it back home in one piece?
I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous! I love the magical feel of this picture! The grotto under the tree on the cover is breathtaking! The cover definitely suits the book.
The title is very straight forward. The whole setting is the grotto under the tree, so I think this is a fantastic title for this book.
I thought the world building, for a middle grade novel, was done fantastically! It's so easy to get lost in this magical world thanks to the author's great descriptions! In fact, I wanted to visit this grotto under the oak tree!
The pacing was a bit slow to begin with, and I was thinking that I had made a mistake in agreeing to review this book. Luckily, without even realizing it, the pacing picked up, and I was enthralled with this story.
The book definitely has an interesting plot. I love, love, love the idea of a grotto under a tree. There's not many subplots, but I think this is because it's a middle grade novel. I was quite happy there wasn't many subplots though. The use of mystical creatures as well as a traditional figure was interesting. I even like the way the author made up his own type of mythical creatures. The best thing about the plot was the life lessons found throughout the novel.
I liked the characters. I thought they sounded like they were really sweet. I would've liked to know more about them such as what they were like when they were in their normal existence. I did like the way they looked out for each other no matter what happened. It was touching to see how they were willing to sacrifice their own life for the other's many times. It was obvious how close these two were.
The dialogue was mostly written well for a middle grade novel. However, there were some words in there that I think tweens and younger teens might struggle with. Also, there were times when the children spoke that made them seem more like high school kids rather than elementary kids. Oh, and I found it annoying how the book had to mention every time they held hands or rested their head on each other. It got a bit repetitive. Other than that, the dialogue flows really well and suits a middle grade novel! There's no swearing although there is mild violence.
Overall, The Grotto Under the Tree is a very amusing read which will transport you into a magical realm. With only a few minor issues, this is a novel that children will thoroughly enjoy.
I'd recommend this to children aged 10 - 13 who would love to be transported into a magical and mystical universe!
I'd give The Grotto Under the Tree by John A. Theo Jr. a 4 out of 5.
Purchase The Grotto Under the Tree by John A. Theo Jr.:
About the Author:
John Theo, Jr. has numerous published articles on arts, culture and sports figures. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. During the day John serves as Vice President of Operations for Blue Sky Holdings, which owns many commercial fitness clubs. John is also an adjunct professor at Endicott College in Beverly, MA, where he teaches screenwriting. John's Book, The Grotto Under The Tree, has been released by Astraea Press.
Connect with John A. Theo Jr.:
Up for grabs is a $25 Gift Card or Paypal Cash. This is a tour wide giveaway and is open internationally. Terms and conditions are on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
(I was provided a free ebook of this title from the tour host in exchange for a fair and honest review).