Title: Spirit Thorn (A Tale of Parallel Worlds)
Author: Zacharias O'Bryan
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Do parallel worlds exist? Searching for proof, Professors Rodger & Cassie Swift vanish. Kestrelle, a spirit girl claiming to know their fate, tells their son Braden he must brave a whitewater, tooth-sprouting river into a land where wise vultures predict the future and blue minds inhabit lava caves. Only two powers can help: Kestrelle's Blood Thorn and Braden's vine-painted guitar.
Spirit Thorn is a story that begins from the point of view of Braden a young human boy and then flipping back and forth between him and Kestrelle, a spirit "elf" girl. Each chapter is then interspersed with fragments of Braden's father's scientific journals giving a reference to phenomenons and other scientific theories that may explain some of what is happening in the story.
Although the Thorn is said to be important for nearly the beginning it's importance and origin of only hinted at throughout the book and is never fully explained. The same also goes with Braden's guitar which is said to be monumental in their quest yet is hardly stops anything when it is destroyed halfway through.
Setting: In a parallel universe in Oregon (oddly not mentioned until about half way through) where gasoline, and other usual modern amenities are a thing of the past.
Characters: As for character development this book is also highly lacking and left me with even more questions by the end instead of revealing withheld information or explanations by the end as many other books do. How Braden was portrayed his year long struggle/search to find out what happened to his parents seems to be glossed over so it evokes little sympathy. His later selfishness and lack of premeditated actions made him seem more like a secondary character than a main one and made me think how much the book could have kept most (if not all) its literary integrity and storyline if Braden was simply removed all together.
As for Molly, another non-human character, I would have appreciated more explanation of who she was (or more specifically what her job was in the eyes of the other creatures). She is identified as "The Singer" and you are left puzzled as to why it is important until at which time she seems to be paralleled with religious figures such as Jesus or Buddha.
Age Recommendation: Although this books is said to be for all ages I would adjust that to being best for pre-teens, particularly for those interested in books involving creatures of other races (mythical or otherwise).
Overall it is a fairly fast read and if you have nothing better to do go and give it a read after all it is free to buy but I wouldn't spend money for it which is disappointing for me as I had moderately high hopes for this one...
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