Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Primal Key (review)

*This post contains affiliate links which I may earn a commission from; however, all opinions are my own.*

I have SO many review books sitting on my shelf right now that I need to just buckle down and read like a maniac. The good news for you is that your summer reading list should have no problem coming together if you stay tuned for my reviews.

The Primal Key - C.A. Hartley

Alex Clarke trains for one thing -- finding the broken bits of Grandmother's Carnelian Tablet. The relic, if mended, could reveal the location of The Primal Key -- the key to unlocking parallel dimensions. His family duty and his path are preordained, foretold centuries ago until . . .

Anne Clarke's curiosity gets the best of her. She opens a storage box, the one thing Mom insists she leave alone, and prematurely unleashes suppressed talents -- dangerous skills that can't be curbed once released. Worse, she accidentally leads Seth Barthony, Grandmother's murderous adversary, to the family's safe house. Seth's agents destroy their home and abduct Mom. As ransom, Seth insists Grandmother hand over the Primal Key.

As Alex scrambles to uncover clues to the Key's last resting place, Anne learns her new talents could help rescue Mom. But Anne's shaky and untested skills could, if forced, kill her and those she loves. 

Full disclosure, this book is the first in a series and I'm telling you right now that if you have any interest at all in the series, you're going to need to start with this book. Though the others aren't released yet, these are not going to be stand alone novels. There's no way they could be given the sheer amount of back story and information given throughout this book. This book is also geared towards middle grade but to be honest, I think a fourth or fifth grade student would find it interesting and be able to follow along and that perhaps sixth grade and up might not find it as interesting.

As for me, I can really only give it 3 out of 5 stars. I really struggled with just the sheer amount of information in the book, a lot of which is just overwhelming and almost not needed at all. For all of the time and energy that went into planning this story, coming up with an interesting back story to keep you going, the author really dropped the ball on naming the magical set of keys the book centers on. Of every clever name you could think of, she settles on "Crazy Keys" and I'll be honest, I had to re-read the section a few times to make sure that was the actual name of the item. And it was, which felt so half-assed I don't know what to think about it.

But the story progresses quickly, it starts with a bang, with Anne creating an unsafe portal passage before being captured and it sets the Clarke family on an adventure none of them are prepared for. Mom is hiding secrets, Anne has no idea how powerful she is, and her brother Alex (who has grown up thinking that HE is the twin with all the power) soon learns it was all a ruse to really protect Anne. The book itself has a few editorial mistakes that I'm sure young readers won't notice but parents and teachers most likely would. It's also a fun read as it does introduce kids to sci-fi/fantasy but also museums, history, and art as well.

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