Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage

13-year-old Marcus is an outsider – orphaned, friendless, with disabilities to his arm and leg that require the use of a wheelchair, the new boy at school facing a group of relentless bullies. His only escape is Farworld, the place he has created in his mind where magic abounds. When a menacing stranger appears threatening to take him away, Marcus finds himself suddenly pulled out of his normal life  – and into Farworld. His rescuer is Kyja, herself an outsider in Farworld – in a land where magic abounds, she possesses none. The pair is guided by Master Therapass, who knows the true link Marcus has with Kyja.  The Dark Circle has discovered the secret that can be the undoing of Farworld, and only Marcus and Kyja can convince the elusive Elementals to work together to make a path between the two worlds.

Savage has a wonderful, visual style of writing that enables the reader to see exactly how this new, magical world appears. Several times I found myself re-reading paragraphs, not because I was confused but because I loved reading Savage’s descriptions of the world he has created.  I believe he does a good job of allowing the reader to sympathise for his two main characters withouth making them seem weak. Both Marcus, with his physical limitations, and Kyka, with her insecurities, are often pitied by the people around them. Savage, however, never feels sorry for either of them, but allows them to discover how strong they can become when they work together and believe in themselves.

As a woman, I am thrilled to see a young girl in a novel who is written as a true equal to the young man. Too often, the girl is the sidekick – plucky and cute, but watching as the boy gets to be the hero. Savage gives Kyja just as much importance as Marcus, and allows her to be heroic in her own right. And the bad guys are truly scary – I found myself anxious several times when the kids were in danger.Trust me, you don’t want to mess with the Thrathkin S’Bae!

I really enjoyed this book. Because this is the first in a series, Savage has to spend a lot of time explaining and introducing , which can at times slow the pace of the novel. However, he has created several characters – Master Therapass and Bonesplitter especially, that I can’t wait to read more about. This series has a lot of potential, and I am very exited to read the continuing adventures of Marcus and Kyja. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Finished: 6/9/08

Rating: 8/10

Source: ARC from author

reviewed by Elizabeth

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