Reviews of The Book Knights
The Eric Hoffer Award (Honorable Mention - Young Adult Fiction)
When police arrive to burn shelves and shelves of hidden books in their home, Arti Penderhagen flees to the Isle of Avalon. Her former home is a place where the act of reading and book ownership have been outlawed and her parents subsequently condemned to death. Arti channels her inner strength as she vows to return and save her parents from this dystopian police state with the help of an ancient text and new friends by her side. This dynamic, fast-paced story begins on page one with punch and intrigue. Just a few pages with Arti and we are fully invested in her struggle, her spirit, and her fight against the Corporation.
Meredith Wilson, of Liko Loves Books (Posted February 21, 2018).
Click here to watch Meredith's awesome video review of THE BOOK KNIGHTS. She recorded it in her car. Yep, her car. Meredith loved the book, and she tells us why. She's a lot of fun.
Bibliobakes (Posted September 18, 2017)
This was such a fun read. I’m kind of a nerd about Arthurian legend (I’ve read The Once and Future King three times already) and this was such a fun twist on the classic! It’s set in a (relatively) modern, maybe slightly futuristic society. In this the terrible witch Morgan Fay has outlawed reading, declaring it a punishable crime. She is the head of an extremely powerful corporation that regularly conducts raids of homes of suspected readers, burning all of the books inside.
The book centers around Arti Penderhagen, a reader. At the beginning of the book, Mordred (the chief of Morgan Fay’s private army) discovers that she and her parents are readers, and her home is burned to the ground. Arti escapes narrowly, but her parents are taken to jail. Thus begins Arti’s wild journey, in which she must take to the streets. She is very nearly caught but rescued at the last minute by a badass girl named Gal. The most badass duo ever is formed, and once joined by old librarian Merl they embark on a quest to save the Grail Tome and rescue Arti’s parents.
This was such a fun take on the classic! I loved it whenever a new character entered and I was like ooh! I know who that is! But the changes were part of what stood out to me most in this book. The great King Arthur, known throughout legend as an incredible king, was a fourteen-year-old girl who loves reading. Galahad, Arthur’s right-hand man and confidant, was a twelve-year-old kick-ass street orphan. These changes made me absolutely love this book, because one unfortunate flaw of classics is their tendency to leave women out of the narrative. Here we had a story that originally lacked strong female protagonists, changed to one where strong, competent young women are at the forefront. I loved it.
The friendships in this book were also so strong. It had my fave thing: kickass, bad-guy fighting squad of teens. Books like that are always my faves. Arti, Gal, Lance, Gwen, and Merl (not a teen, but still part of the squad) were such an awesome group. They fought evil together, learned together, read together, and joked together. If that isn’t squad goals, I don’t know what is. Tbh, that’s my idea of a perfect group of friends.
Arti was also such a fun character to get to know. She was funny, resourceful, quick thinking, and smart. Plus, she was ready to go to war for books. That’s my kind of girl. I spent half the book wishing that I could be Arti and the other half wishing that I could be her best friend.
Finally, this book had such a creative premise. Truly original books are few and far between nowadays, and finding such an original midgrade novel was truly refreshing. I’m really loving this trend of classic retellings, but this one particularly stood out because of its take on Arthurian legend. I think it changed many aspects without losing the heart of the story, and that is a great feat.
Final rating- 4.5/5
5 Stars! Fantastic Book!
Review on Amazon.ca by Linda B. (Posted August 15, 2017)
Just finished The Book Knights and am so sad it's over!! I even put off reading the last two days so I could drag it out a little longer. It was great!! I loved it!!! It took me just a chapter or two to figure out the story line, but once I did it really came to life! The descriptions were perfect and I could envision every detail. The characters were so fun to get to know (even the bad guys) and each chapter ending had me so anxious to read on to make sure they were going to be okay!! More than once, I would finish the chapter and yell "Gah" out loud because the suspense was too much and I would have to read the next!! The ending was superb and I am hoping it was left open for the sequel!!??
Fantastic book. Five large gold stars!!!
5 Stars! Everything a Great Story Should Have.
Review on Amazon.com by Nikki (Posted July 14, 2017)
I first stumbled across this story as part of Kindle Scout. I was VERY disappointed when it wasn't chosen to be published because the premise of the story was massively intriguing. Thankfully, the author made it available on Kindle for free as a way of thanking those who nominated it.
I am in LOVE with this story. Sometimes an author has a really great concept but the writing doesn't live up to what the story should be. That is NOT the case with The Book Knights. I want the right people to get their hands on this and make it into a movie. This holds the beauty and wonder of some of my favorite classics, such as "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe", and "The Lord of the Rings." It is so difficult to create a universe that is both wondrous and believable. To have all of the facts and intricacies tied up so perfectly, it's rare. But J.G. McKenney has done just that. This book had everything you could ever hope for in a good story, and it made me laugh, cry, and cheer. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this story and if you love fantastical tales, you MUST read this.
Reviews of Eon's Door
Parallel Words Young Adult - Jessica Rust (Posted October 23, 2012)
One of the first books I was ever given to read was a fantasy book. It took me on a journey to unknown lands and created a vision of possibilities. That book gave me an understanding that there is so much more to this world than just what we see. Eon's Door is very much like that. J.G. McKenney's ability to describe a world so much and so unlike our own is impressive.
Eon's Door is a classic fantasy adventure story that faces off between good and evil. Strange and delightful characters fill the novel creating a well rounded story. I was so immersed in the world that J.G. McKenney had created that I didn't want the story to end. I thoroughly enjoyed going on the adventure with Bobby and Scotty to save another world and perhaps in some ways our own.
Eon's Door reminds me of an epic fantasy and I found myself wanting to spend more time in this world and learn more about the people and places. Perhaps there is or will be a second book and if there is I will look forward to continuing the journey through the lands of Erla.
Mind Ventures - Ivie Isler (Posted August 14, 2012)
I received this book through GoodReads' First Reads program, and I was eager to begin this story. As a lover of fantasy novels, this held the promise of everything I enjoy reading--a new world, new creatures, quests, and special talents (telepathy). McKenney thoroughly thought through these elements and the result is a wonderful adventure story.
Before the story begins, McKenney provides a map of the Erlan world as well as a list of the main characters. This really helps readers to understand the new setting and to keep track of which main characters are part of which clan. Each clan can communicate with different parts of nature--either animals, trees/plants, water/aquatic life, or all three.
McKenney definitely has the ability to paint with his words and allows readers to "see" his world clearly. Characters and landscapes are brought to life. He creates an epic style story where characters must travel to far off places while braving dangerous creatures so they can retreive an artifact--in this case a key-- in order to defeat an evil foe.
Although the story is geared to kids/teens (one of the main characters is 12 years old), I would recommend it to older teens due to McKenney's complex writing style and vivid descriptions. Adults will also get a lot out of the story. I would recommend this book to fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series.
BlogCritics.org - Beverly Pechin (Posted February 13, 2012)
The first thing that grabs your attention about Eon’s Door is the map and list of characters in the front. Generally if an author takes the time to put both in their writings, they tend to create an intricately weaved story with a mass of characters in a confusing, wondrous world like nothing you could imagine yourself. Hence the essence of the gift of a writer who can pull the two together; a cast of amazing characters in unearthly types and styles who reside within various areas of mythical places, all in order to create a story that will take you away from the world as we know it.
To be honest, in the beginning it’s a bit overwhelming to look at the map, the list of characters and start to read a book that contains walking trees and strange characters that you’re not sure what to think of. Do I go back and try to decipher things or do I read on and figure out what’s what and who’s who? This is the one and only fault of the book itself. It gives you the sense before you even begin to read, that the book is a tangled web of stories, characters, and places that will bring to you confusion; so the author offers up the list of characters and map to help you as you go along. While in some ways I truly understand the reasoning, I think it almost puts a fright in the reader themselves as to “will I keep track of what’s going and who is what?” The truth of the matter is if you relax, read the book, go with the flow, and allow your mind to wander with the book, the confusion melds into a story that takes you away into a world of magic and wonder.
The story itself is one of a new world, created as three clans escape the human world through Eon’s Door. However, they’re told a prophecy of a time when the key to Eon’s Door will be stolen and their worlds will be torn apart. The worlds of wonder, walking trees, nature at its very soul and unlike anything humans could imagine will be torn apart. Yet they’re also told of a courageous young man who can help them but only if he, with the help of others, can retrieve the key and close Eon’s Door before the damage is done.
It’s a story of friendships, kindness, betrayal, and good versus evil. You go from knowing that good will prevail to being sure evil will conquer.
McKenney has an amazingly wondrous imagination that he uses to create an extensive number of characters from nature becoming “human like” and taking on life unlike anything us humans know and yet gives them such character that you feel their inner souls. An amazing story filled with beauty, magic, wonder, terror, sadness, loss, victory, love, hatred and every other feelings you can imagine; all created between human and non-human beings. It’s a story that entraps your mind and takes you away from the real world and once you get past the wonder of if you should try to sit and decipher people, places, and characters and realize that if you just let it flow through your mind it will take you over and all come together.
Eon's Door is a must read for anyone who enjoys a touch of mythical creatures and magic. It reminded me a lot of the beginning and written version of something to the effect of Avatar, long before the world knew this type of magic existed. As a matter of fact it brought to mind a kind of mixture of Avatar meets Lord of the Rings — only with characters who are truly more interesting and amazing. That Eon’s Door belongs in such a category of entertainment is a notion that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially by the author.
e3verson - My review doesn't do it justice!! (5 Stars) (Posted December 2, 2011)
For any fan of fantasy books this one should be added to your collection. There are many different aspects to this book, and I believe it would be enjoyed by anyone regardless of age.
I really enjoyed the deep sense of duty, responsibility, honor and respect that the characters embody and express towards one another. There is also a strong emphasis on the respect and reverence one should have for all of nature, not unlike some of the ideals of Native American culture.
That being said, if you just want to read about giant wolves, eagles, and a marching forest of evil trees all doing battle amongst themselves as well as others this is still the book for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review.
Sift Book Reviews - Erica Woolridge (Posted September 9, 2011)
Eon’s Door begins in the true spirit of epic fantasy with pages of world maps, character lists and descriptions. The story follows a myriad of characters and their role in finding the portal key that joins their old world with the new, both in current day and several millennia ago. It has a captivating storyline with a lovely surprise at the end; 4.5 stars out of 5.
There is a lot of adventure in this book, with many battles, and I enjoyed how the story diverged from the typical with much of the warfare taking place between animals (and trees) instead of people. It had a Lord of the Rings type feel regarding the key (that has gone missing) and the sage who stole it; the key corrupts him to do evil and calls to him. The multiple clans and main characters from each kept the action going and provided a lot of history. I particularly liked the part of the story told through Miann as he relives his father’s memories from 2000 years ago when his father and company were on a quest to flee the world of humans; a story that parallels his own.
The writing is solid and detailed and the author keeps up a good level of conflict, however I found it a little slow in the last half of the book. The story may have benefited from some of the more superfluous smaller conflicts/description being taken out. However, I feel I should stress this is a matter of personal taste; the author creates compelling storylines, I just thought there were a few too many. On a side note, I would have liked more explanation initially when Amor sends Miann on his quest to the Old World—just a page or so. Miann seems confused as to what is going on and as a reader I wanted a bit more history at this point.
Eon’s Door has a great focus on respect for nature and the author creates wonderful imagery with his words. The author also makes great use of Bobby (from their old world, our current world) and there are many amusing instances of Bobby educating his quest-mates: telling them about books (they are aghast because that requires killing trees), the magic of his flashlight. It was also nice how Bobby compared his current adventure with one of his favorite books back home.
Though I thought I had predicted the ending of Eon’s Door, I was pleasantly surprised in the end and developed a new appreciation for the hero. Overall, beautiful imagery, a lovely ending, and a great read.
HopelessBibliophile.com - Jessica Torres (Posted September 8, 2011)
Lovers of Fantasy should be well aware that we are awash in a world of clones. Despite my deep love of this genre, it's true that a lot of times every story is like the one before, and so I become a bit jaded when it comes to starting a new book. However, lucky for me, J.G. McKenney approached me with Eon's Door. From the moment I opened it on my ereader I was swept away into a beautifully crafted world. With deep ties to nature, and a distinct lack of complicated character names or races, this book stole my heart.
Miann, the young protagonist in this book, was an extremely dynamic and well-written character. His love for his people, for his family, and for the connection he had to the Nature around him, was beautifully done. I fell in love with his persistence and compassion. However what really brought the book home for me was McKenney's ingenious tie to the world that we , the reader, live in. He brings a character from the outside world, from a place where Nature is stagnant and flat, into this gorgeous world of his. The dynamic between Miann and Bobby truly, in my opinion, is what makes this book. Each from a separate home, yet fighting for the same end goal. I adored them.
As I've already mentioned, the world that is built in Eon's Door is utterly breathtaking. I'll admit the fact that there were times when I found myself wanting to know more. One thing that you won't find in this book is over explanation or an overload of imagery. Instead, there is a generally flowing and descriptive sense to the writing that pulls you just far enough into the world to understand what is going on, without being confusing. There is a depth to Miann and Bobby's story that builds up slowly, adding and adding, until it all fits together in the end and you're left breathless at the thought that it all worked out so wonderfully. In my opinion, the story line is executed perfectly.
If there is one thing I honestly did miss in this book, it was the lack of forward motion that occurred at times. Although Miann and Bobby are on an epic quest to save Erla, there are times where things just seem to stop. At certain points I felt a void of emotion coming out of the characters. It was almost as if they were just moving where they needed to go, and not really thinking about it. I also felt that there were scenes whose brevity was unnecessary, especially as they were important to the overall story. Certain events were just brushed over in a matter of pages. It wasn't often enough to hamper my overall enjoyment of Eon's Door, but it did cause me to knock off one star in my rating.
Still, I'll be the first to admit that this is the first book in a long time that stood out to me in this genre. It's ties to Nature, the depth of the story line, and the wonderfully written characters, all mesh together to create something that is wholly immersive and enchanting. I may have had my slight qualms, yes, but overall I fully believe that J.G. McKenney has written a gem. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more of his work, and I highly suggest that you do the same.
LL Book Review - Daniel Tomas Pearson (Posted July 22, 2011)
Two millennia after three clans and their leaders go through Eon’s Door to find sanctuary in the world of Erla, a prophecy left to them by the ancients that created the portal is coming true. Shorran, sage to the clans, has stolen the portal’s key and is using the “awesome” power that separated the worlds to tear apart the very soul of Nature. The key must be taken back and Eon’s Door closed before it’s too late.
In the first part of the book we follow Miann, his mother, Amara has been killed by Shorran and his father, Amor, has sent him on a quest to find a “Child of doubt”, mentioned in the prophecy as the one who can help save the world of Erla. According to the prophecy he lives in our world , the world in which I’m writing this review. Along the way he enlists the help of various civilizations, from eagles to wolves to horses and the three clans. He finally makes his way to Bobby Wright, another person who’s filled with grief after the death of his father, sometime ago. Together Bobby and Miann, along with help from their friends manage to right their problems and to cut a long story short, defeat Shorran.
If there’s one thing that stands out in this book its the depth. There’s a lot of back story to the characters and the world, you pick up pieces of information throughout the story, adding and adding until it all fits into place like one big jigsaw. Unlike many of the fantasy novels I’ve read in recent months Eon’s Door is the one that hasn’t tried too hard, and in my opinion that’s a good thing.
I’m fed up of reading all the typical fantasy books that seem to be a spin off of Lord Of The Rings, One too many vowels in all the names of characters and places, relying on back story too much, laying on too much crap about dwarves and elves, making up separate languages and so on. This book is the outlier, it’s strayed from the rest of the flock and it manages to tell the story perfectly well, if not better than all the rest. The story might be slightly predictable, but it’s original and that makes it a good read. There’s also a lot of vivid imagery, plenty to feed to the readers hungry imagination.
However, I do have some bones to pick with this book. Most importantly is , in my opinion, the lack of atmosphere at certain places. I don’t feel any tension or happiness at the right points, it’s like a story with no feeling, no emotion, an empty shell. And this is reflected in the portrayal of the characters because I found that I didn’t feel for them, I found it difficult to empathise. At places I couldn’t care what happened, just wanting things to liven up a bit.
However, that’s not to say it’s all bad, because it’s not, a lot of it is excellent and if I could use the phrase “I couldn’t put it down” then I would, but its an e-book and so I can’t. There’s also the small matter of some events or scenes being too brief. At the beginning we see Miann on a journey to the Chrysos eagles, to seek their help. It was done in about two pages and it occurs to me that details of all his hardships along the way and perhaps reading of him reflecting on his mother’s death would have made it slightly more real in my mind.
But it’s easy to overlook these small matters because I did enjoy the book and I very much hope that it will become popular. I also noticed that there was a school study unit for this book and I must say, I’d rather do thirty percent of my GCSE on Eon’s Door rather than John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice And Men”.
I recommend this book to everyone who’s a fan of fantasy and wants something different. I’ll definitely be buying this when it comes to paperback because I have no doubt that this will be a brilliant addition to my extensive collection.