I had been wanting to read this book for a couple of years as it looked intriguing. In the meantime two sequels came out, so I finally decided to read it. The story follows 15-year-old Alex Taylor on as he becomes an adventurer in a magical world after curiosity leads him to inquire about a recruiting sign for adventurers in a shop window on an unusually deserted street. We meet his fellow adventurers (including the obligatory dwarves & elves) and learn about the adventure (ridding the kingdom of a dragon and claiming his hoard) they are to complete along with the rewards and code of adventuring. Along the way, Alex discovers much about his companions, the magical world he is visiting and his own abilities and potential.
This book is written for a much younger audience than I had expected, more for elementary school ages. Although it is definitely several steps up from a beginning chapter book and includes danger, peril and fighting, there is an absence of any intensely scariness on the order of Harry Potter or Fablehaven. This makes it a perfect read-a-loud story for younger children introducing them to elements of classic magical quest stories, including trolls, codes of honor, oracles and visits to a dwarf kingdom and an elf forest along the way. I felt the climatic battle with the dragon could have used a little more detail and complexity, but overall I enjoyed the story very much once I got used to the tone of cheerful positivity. The story was a fast, run read, and I look forward to finally reading the sequels as well.
Click here to read more about Slathbog's Gold, here for Horn of Moran (book 2) and here for Albrek's Tomb (book 3).