Ash Forest: and the King’s Gold
Ocean’s Light Publishing (2020)
Reviewed by Maddie (age 13) for Reader Views Kids (12/2020)
I enjoyed “Ash Forest: and the King’s Gold” by Stephen Pratt so much and was excited to learn that it is the first book in a new fantasy series for teens. With an orphan, a couple of witches, a greedy king, a pouty prince, some knights in armor and a peasant girl and her father, Ashville becomes a village full of magic, chaos, and the ultimate battle to save the world.
It all starts with an orphan boy with no name who the villagers call Feral Boy. Feral Boy lives just outside the village of Ashville in the Ash Forest, a place the villagers do not dare to go because of man-eating plants and other threats. Feral Boy doesn’t mind being alone, it’s all he knows, but when a new family moves to the village, Feral Boy becomes curious. When Ashville is suddenly attacked by a King who wants to possess all the gold in the world, Feral Boy must work with this father and daughter team to save the village. But how can a simple orphan and a couple of peasants triumph over a powerful evil King and his even darker court witch?
From the very first page I knew I was gonna love this book. The very second sentence made me feel sorry for the orphan boy and I wanted to learn more, “He had no friends, no parents, and no name.” Aw! Fortunately, it is not really a sad tale like it appears in this sentence, but an exciting adventure with so much action I wanted to spend all my spare time reading. It is long, but this book was just FUN to read! There’s magic and suspense, drama, and some close calls with death, but there’s also a lot of humor in the story and it’s the characters that make it so fun. My favorite character was Ash. I can’t really tell you a lot about him without spoiling the story other than he is a smart-mouthed, makes-you-laugh kind of character. Some of the things he says made me laugh out loud!
I think the author created some great characters who were different and fun – Arakin and Prudence were my two other favorites. But more than the characters, it’s just a great story. I could picture the settings the author was describing such as the flowing lava and the man-eating plants and the evil creatures created by King Luxurous.
The ending is kind of calm but you can tell there’s going to be another adventure soon and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the village of Ashville. I recommend “Ash Forest: and the King’s Gold” to all teens. Younger kids might not get some of the humor but they would enjoy Ash as I can see him appealing to a younger crowd – but really I think the book is best for ages 10 and older.