Have you ever read a book that reminds you of that joy you had watching Saturday morning cartoons where the heroes would always save the day in the coolest ways possible? If your answer is no, I would highly suggest ordering The Shadow of the Gauntlet by Casey Caracciolo (trust me on this, you’re going to be happy once that geeky adventurous feeling flows through your veins again). It’s the first book in what will hopefully become a great Sci-Fi/Fantasy series entitled Scargen. A series that includes robots, vampires, dragons, werewolves, samurais, magicians, technopaths, talking animals, and much much more. Let me provide you with a little synopsis before delving into why I’m a fan of the book…
The story starts off with the protagonist, Thomas Scargen, waking up from a horrible nightmare that insinuates his father’s life is in danger. That feeling is made all to real when his world is turned upside down by Yareli Chula, Spirit Summoner and a member of the Council of Mages, as she plucks him out of his normal life to save him from a malevolent army run by a vicious mage. He is whisked away into a secret world of magic that helps him to fine tune the powers he never knew he had but needs to save the world.
Thomas Scargen’s journey includes:
- Riding a top a teleporting dragon
- Racing a vampire
- Battle with a high demon
- Becomes roommates with a talking elephant
- Share drinks with a Shakespeare quoting werewolf
And that isn’t even the half of it! But it is quite the interesting half, so just imagine what else you’ll see in the pages of this book.
I was initially hooked into this book by the mention of robots. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Out of all the characters/creatures mentioned in this book, why robots?” It might be due to the fact that our entertainment is drenched with vampires and werewolves and magicians at the moment (don’t get me wrong, I love those characters too) but there is just something about robots that get to me. Those little (and big) mechanical machines that just want to be your best friend, just tugs at my heart. And the robot in this story is Thomas’ best friend and guardian. He cracked me up with his inability to understand sarcasm and made me feel for him when he did everything in his power to protect Thomas.
All the characters in this book have their own likeability factor, even the ones that just pop up a few times. Caracciolo really put a lot of work into making his characters well molded to give his story more than just a plot about a boy saving the world. It’s about a boy and his magical/mythological group of friends doing what’s best to keep evil forces from destroying everything they love.
Another interesting component to this book is the merger of science and magic. The Shadow of the Gauntlet takes place in what is perceived to be the future (they have holograms, flying cars, and robots, the lucky ducks) where science seems to drip out of everything. But once Thomas discovers the hidden world of magic, he starts to see interesting connections on how everything works together. Unlike me, who will go “OMG, that’s wizadry,” when someone does something with technology that I don’t understand.
If you’re not sold on my guarantee that the book is awesome (my guarantee is gold though), you can always check out a sample chapter, here.
Check out more about the book over on Scargen.com!