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About the Book
Title: WhipEye (WhipEye Chronicles Book #1) | Author: Geoffrey Saign | Year published: June 20, 2014 | Publisher: KiraKu Press | Number of pages: 301 | Recommended age: 9+
Can a girl grieving her mother, a boy missing his father, and a thousand-year-old wise-cracking parrot save two worlds?
Samantha and her neighbor, Jake, have no idea that Samantha’s best friend, a parrot named Charlie, is a thousand years old. Charlie is also at the center of a secret battle between magical creatures and an ancient, evil man. When Charlie asks Samantha and Jake to protect him, they are chased by monsters from both sides. To save Charlie, and two worlds, Samantha and Jake have twenty-four hours to figure out how to use the supernatural staff, WhipEye, and find the courage to confront what they fear most.
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My Thoughts: After her mother passes away, twelve year-old Samantha finds solace in her regular visits to the Endless Pet Store where she talks to a Congo African Gray Parrot named Charlie. Her life forever changes when, to her surprise, Charlie talks back and asks her to bust him out of the pet store explaining that he is a methuselah – a thousand year old magical creature being held captive by the evil pet store owner, Magnar. When Sam stuffs Charlie in her jacket and walks out the store, she sets into motion a chain of events that leave the future of Earth and the mystical world of Kiraku, where animals and nature exist in peace, hanging in the balance.
With the evil Magnar giving chase using his army of “shadow monsters” (magical creatures he has captured in rings on his fingers), Sam joins forces with Jake, her next door neighbor, to protect the final methuselah’s (i.e., Charlie) life force from being imprisoned by Magnar, thus giving him complete power. Along the way, Sam inherits a magical staff named “WhipEye” which has the power to summon the “Great Ones”, powerful beings from the land of Kiraku who are the protectors of both Earth and Kiraku. But as the Great Ones perceive that humans on Earth do not care for the environment, animals, or nature, they no longer heed the call of WhipEye. It is up to Sam and Jake to demonstrate to the Great Ones, through survival, sacrifice and love, that Earth is worth saving.
This book sucked me in from the first page and had me tearing through to the ending until one in the morning! I could not put this book down! The last 75 pages in particular contain fast-paced, non-stop, edge-of-your seat action sequences that made it impossible for me to find an appropriate place to pause. One of the things I really loved about this book is that the “bad guy” was really bad. Magnar reeked of evil and he was relentless in pursuing the children and Charlie. He was a fantastic villain. The author wisely makes Charlie, a joke-cracking parrot who provides some of the comic relief necessary to release the tension built up from the action sequences and chase scenes.
Aside from this, what really raised the bar for me was that the plot was wholly unpredictable. There were things which happened that were completely unexpected. For example, I was genuinely surprised when the Great Ones did not heed the call of WhipEye. I also did not foresee the introduction of Kiraku, a peaceful parallel world nor the introduction of mysterious characters such as Lewella and Uncle Biggie who play key roles in the story. Additionally, for many of the characters, I could not guess if they were evil or good. This wonderful book was full of surprises and the world-building and character development was excellent. Of note, I felt that the way Sam’s grief was woven throughout the story was very well done.
A final word of caution… At times, I forgot that WhipEye is intended for a middle grade audience. Some of the action featuring the scary shadow monsters chasing the children and the fight scenes between the animals were quite intense and in some cases, quite brutal. Some sensitive children may be frightened by some of the more violent passages in the book.
My Bottom Line: WhipEye features a sophisticated, multi-layered plot touching on many themes including grief, environmentalism, friendship, trust, and courage. The fast-paced non-stop action drew me in until I found myself staying up until one in the morning not being able to put the book down until I was finished. I highly recommend this middle grade fantasy adventure to children ages 10 and older (as well as adults).
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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our book promotion services.
More Buzz About the Book
“The story itself is pure genius.” ~ 5-star Review, LitPick
“This was amazing… I couldn’t put it down. ~ Erik, This Kid Reviews Books
“As an avid reader of all kinds of books, I often find many fantasy books sloppily written, as though the genre is the dumping ground of less talented writers. So imagine my delight and surprise when right at the get-go–from the first page onwards–`WhipEye’ demolished my prejudice and reminded me that every once in a while, you find that shiny needle in the proverbial haystack.” ~ 5 Star Review, Meghan, Amazon
“Attention to detail,best of all fleshed out and well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well illustrated scenes that actually make you feel like you are right there in the story -or at least wish you were – and that’s something I really look for in a good book. “ ~ 5 Star Review, Tali, Amazon
“`Whipeye’ by Geoffrey Saign is a wonderfully written fantasy story that combines elements of fantasy and magic. The author has created a fantastical world that is vividly imagined with magical creatures and strange but colorful characters…What really makes this story engaging are the likeable characters that you can’t help but root for. The story may be about an adventure that involves magic and supernatural elements, but it’s also about friendship and discovering one’s strength when it’s needed the most. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Portia A., Amazon
“Whipeye is a thrilling magical adventure with surprises at every turn, a story that deserves to be read.” ~ Laurisa White Reyes, Editor-in-Chief of Middle Shelf Magazine and author of The Celestine Chronicles series
“Simply put…it’s a creative story that draws you in from the beginning. The twists and turns, the interesting characters and surprises keep you wanting to turn the next page. This walk into a fantasy serves as a nice mini-vacation without having to go anywhere or plan anything. I look forward to the next book. Well done. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Michael S., Amazon
About the Author: Geoffrey Saign
Geoffrey Saign can often be found looking for interesting critters, and magic, while swimming, snorkeling, sailing, or hiking in the woods. His passion for nature and wildlife led to his nationally endorsed book, Green Essentials: What You Need to Know About the Environment, as well as his books African Cats and Great Apes. He has a background in biology, assisted in field research with hummingbirds and humpback whales, and sailed as far away as Australia. With more than twenty years of experience working in special education, he has taught adults and children everything from sailing to novel writing. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.