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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Book Reviews - The Red Sun & Kalifus Rising by Alane Adams

Book reviews
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Review by Suze
Sam has a regular human life and while he's always been quite strong he doesn't think there's anything extraordinary about him. This changes when his new substitute teacher isn't who she says she is. Sam thinks she's scary and he discovers that she really changed his regular English teacher into a lizard. She did this just to get near Sam, which is even creepier. When Sam finds out he's actually originally from Orkney and that they need his help there, his best friends Keely and Howie have already been captured and transported there.
As soon as Sam arrives he finds out that he doesn't only need to rescue his friends, but that he also has to rescue Orkney. The almost completely red sun is threatening to poison everything and it's up to Sam to stop the process and reverse it. On his journey he'll make new friends, he finds unexpected allies and he'll also be deceived and thoroughly tested. Will Sam be able to complete his missions or is this too much for him to ever achieve?
The Red Sun is a magical gripping story. Sam doesn't know anything about his heritage when all of a sudden he's presented with a huge responsibility. It's something he can handle though. He's fiercely loyal, he loves with his whole heart and he can be pretty impulsive. I liked how he continuously stands up for his friends. The truth has been kept from Sam and with a good reason. He has a lot to deal with, but he doesn't hesitate and tries to make a success of two different missions at the same time. He does everything with vigor, which makes him an interesting character to read about. His friends Keely and Howie are important to him and he doesn't let them down. Sam has a bit of a temper problem and he finally finds out where it comes from. I loved how Alane Adams portrays him.
 The Red Sun isn't only about Sam though, I also really enjoyed reading about the other main characters and the creatures they meet on their way. I especially loved Mavery, a young, good witch who knows Orkney a much than Sam. Alane Adams shows her readers the value of true friendship, which for me is the most amazing thing about the Legends of Orkney series. She also understands adventures and is fantastic at writing combat scenes. Her world building is vivid and creative and her beautiful descriptions are a wonderful surprise gift. I fell in love with The Red Sun straight away. It's a book that deserves to be treasured.
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Review by Suze
Sam managed to deal with Orkney's poisonous red sun. He's still in Orkney, because that's where he belongs. He doesn't have much time to get to know his new home, because Catriona, an evil witch, manages to capture him. She has a terrible plan and Sam is an important part of it. She wants to use the darker side of Sam's heritage for her own purposes. The question is if Sam can stop her or not, will he stand a chance against someone so powerful and cunning?
Sam's friends each get a mission to help him. Keely and Howie are being transported back to Orkney for this purpose. Together with Sam's former protector Leo they will be sent on a journey that will help them prepare for the battle against Catriona. Will they be back in time to prevent the awful witch from setting her malicious plans in motion or will they be too late to save Orkney and rescue their friend?
Kalifus Rising is another amazing Legends of Orkney story. It was fun to read about Sam and his friends Keely, Howie, Leo and Mavery again. Keely and Howie have to become a lot braver in this book and I liked that very much. The characters are all evolving, which is one of the necessities of a great series for me, and I enjoyed seeing that. The power of friendship is still strong and seeing what it could withstand was fantastic. The bonds are being put to the test repeatedly this time, which was quite interesting to witness. 
There are even more fabulous monsters, evil characters and creepy creatures in Kalifus Rising. I love how Alane Adams describes each of her characters in a thoroughly detailed way, that makes her stories come to life incredibly well. I love her ingenuity and the way she puts a new spin on old myths is terrific. 
Kalifus Rising has a strong basis. Orkney is an intriguing place and I loved reading about feuds, quests and treaties. There are many fascinating details. Alana Adams creates a world where there's so much in between of being totally good or being completely bad and I loved these shades of grey. The combat scenes are exciting and I liked the spectacular way movements and weapons are being described and used. There are plenty of unexpected moments and the ending of the story is both satisfying and promising. I can't wait to read the next Legends of Orkney story.
About Alane Adams
By Alane Adams
I grew up in an old Quaker town called Whittier in Southern California. For college, I attended the University of Southern California where I wanted to be an English major, but my family convinced me to become an accountant so I could help run a family business. I spent the next few decades trying to get back to writing instead of balancing budgets. After leaving the family business behind in 2008, I started a foundation focusing on global poverty issues particularly their effect on children. I pursued a Masters Degree in Diplomacy and took several field visits with UNICEF, visiting schools around the world. After seeing the importance of education and literacy in the battle to end extreme poverty, I began to shift the focus of my foundation to improving and supporting literacy efforts. In 2009 I was invited to teach a course on social entrepreneurship at Chapman University and joined the full-time faculty for the next five years. Along the way, my passion for literacy and children came together when my 12-year-old son Alex challenged me to write a book he could read. I began writing the Legends of Orkney book series and haven’t stopped writing since that day. In addition, I have a new picture book coming out, The Coal Thief, based on stories from my father’s life growing up in Pennsylvania at the turn of the century.

Having been an avid reader my entire life, books based on mythology have always fascinated me the most. I think it’s the idea of magic and the unlimited potential behind the surreal. Building an entirely new world like the fantastical realm of Orkney in my series has been a wonderful challenge. When I think of stories that don’t involve some element of magic it feels dry and boring. I love characters that are deeply flawed and full of emotions like anger and frustration and a burning desire to understand why it is they are so flawed. There are so many wonderful writers out there that entertain children and adults alike, but my all-time favorite book is River God by Wilbur Smith because it tells such a powerful story of life in ancient Egypt and you can’t help but be swept back to that time and place.

When I’m not writing or teaching, I’m out hiking somewhere in the world or hanging out with my three boys who are my greatest joy. Thank you for visiting my page. I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoyed writing them for you.

To learn more about my foundation visit:

Alane is proud to be a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the International Reading Association, The Literacy Research Association, and the California Reading Association.


  1. Sounds so awesome - Fantasy & Magic book. Thank you for posting.

  2. I've always been intrigued by the Orkney Islands, so these sound good!


  3. Well, this looks like a fun middle grade adventure! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. This sounds like a beautiful novel, thank you for the review.

  5. I think both my daughter and myself, would enjoy these stories.