Summary: Alexander Drake is a curious young man. He lives in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father and spends his days playing alone. Where is his mother? And why is his father so tight-lipped about the past?
But secrets have a way of getting out. And a stay at his grandmother's cottage provides strange clues to his father's past. A past Alexander is determined to find out about.
With a mysterious key and several maps in his pack, he sets off on an innocent search for answers about his family.
The discovery of a secret passageway opens the door to dangers, and wonders, unimaginable. And each answer leads to more questions and the journey of his life.
Join Alexander for a thrilling adventure in Azra's Pith, a place of beauty and magic... but beware--something evil lurks in the shadows.
Review: First, I must start by saying that I loved this story. However, I'm not sure whether this is a small book that wants to be a middle grade novel, or a middle grade novel that wants to be a chapter book. Due to length (As a PDF it is 127 pages, but as an e-book, it's 72 pages), this is really more of a small book than a middle grade novel, but the content seems more novel worthy. It felt like the first quarter of a novel... or the first third if Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows fleshed things out a bit more.
I love that Alexander's guide through Azra's Pith is a frog... or a hopper as they're called in the magical realm. The banter between them is quite charming. Azra's Pith is a fascinating place as are it's inhabitants. But I found myself wanting to know more about... everything. I want to know more about Alexander's father and their relationship -I know, I'm the first one to complain when there is too much to the plot exposition, but here I found myself craving it. I want to know more about the villains. I want to know more about Alexander's family. I felt like things were just starting to unfold, when they came to a complete halt.
I think it's a credit to Ms. Bellows that in so few words she captured my attention. Though I was slightly irritated by that fact that the characters would slip in and out of formal speech patterns, sometimes within the same breath, I would like to know the rest of the story ~she leaves Alexander in a highly precarious place. Is this something worth checking out? Yes. But I might wait until The Return of General Drake is available.
Final Take: 3.0/5