Friday, November 8, 2013

The Conduit (Gryphon #1) by Stacey Rourke

 In the past few years, Young Adult books have exploded in popularity.  For this, I am grateful.  No longer do teens have to be stuck between kind books and adult books.  And it really seems like the genre that it taking off the most is Young Adult Fantasy.  The Conduit by Stacey Rourke fits right into this category.  It is a fun, exciting book that would capture any fantasy loving teen’s imagination, and I enjoyed the dynamics between the characters.
Celeste, her sister Kendall, and her brother Gabe have had better days.  Their father has died and their mother has sent the siblings to their grandmother’s house.  Not only is this a change in scenery, from Michigan to Tennessee, but their grandmother is not your typical grandparent.  She is more likely to be wearing a zebra print muumuu and a pair of hot pink heels. 

While cleaning out the garage one day, Celeste happens to find an heirloom that belonged to her grandfather.  The sculpture of a Gryphon is said to protect people from harm.  This protection doesn’t work for Celeste immediately, since she pokes herself with the statue and begins bleeding.  Immediately, she feels as though something has changed and she sets into motion a chain of events that lead to Celeste and her siblings beginning to fulfill their destinies. 

After a few more unlikely events (and some interaction with a magical creature), the siblings are each given different powers, with Celeste being the central figure—the Conduit.  What this means entirely remains to be seen, but when the siblings are faced with evil, they must find a way to harness their new powers and learn to overcome it—together. 

Rourke has done a great job of capturing the voices of the young people who populate her story.  Their sarcasm and playful banter rings true and is often laugh-out-loud funny.  Because the main characters are siblings, their back and forth interactions built authenticity to their characters voices.  Each character seemed well described and interesting. 

While the plot of embracing your destiny and overcoming evil has been done before, I did enjoy Rourke’s spin on the theme.  I found myself turning the pages to find out what was coming next.  The evil force is not too original though, and I flashed back to many a monster movie.  My other criticism is, that toward the end of the book, Rourke violates the “show, don’t tell” principle and it affected my enjoyment of the plot “resolution”.  (There is a resolution, but this is clearly the first book in a series.) 

 I did find myself wanting to recommend this book to some Young Adults I know.  That, to me, is evidence that the book is fun and entertaining.  Just a bit of tightening up in the exposition of the plot, and The Conduit would be an even better fantasy adventure.  I am eager to read the next installment in the series.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Regina

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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