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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Conor and the Crossroads: At It Again!

Title - Conor and the Crossworlds: Book Two: Peril in the Corridors
Author - Kevin Gerard
ISBN - 9781583852385
Genre - Young Adult Fantasy
From Journal - Front Street Reviews
Publisher - Cold Tree Press
Reviewer's Rating - Top Shelf!

Reviewed by Mary Aycock for Front Street ReviewsConor and T

This second quest into the Crossworlds brings us into our main character’s life two years after the first story. The Lady of the Light appears in Conor Jameson’s bedroom and asks him to accompany her back into the Crossworlds to assist with a problem that was actually created when our young hero and his mentor, Purugama, had their first adventures together. Completely by accident, Purugama and Conor unknowingly created a situation whereby the Crossworlds corridors have been weakened and are now in danger of being destroyed by the Circle of Evil. Many horrible and treacherous evildoers had escaped their bonds when the corridors were weakened and could no longer hold them captive. Now they are on a vengeful drive to destroy all forces of good and all means of traveling through the Crossworlds corridors.

Conor decides to accompany the Lady of the Light to the Glade of Champions, where he meets Maya and the other Crossworlds Champions, Eha, Ajur, Surmitang and Therion. All of the Crossworlds Champions are amazing and endearing but GIGANTIC members of the cat family, just as Purugama was. Anyone who is a cat lover, including myself, would give their left arm to be in Conor’s position, meeting and being mentored by a giant Panther and Cheetah and Tiger and Lion, not to mention Maya, who has the outward appearance of a gigantic domestic cat, but is the Lord of the Crossworlds Champions. All are vested with special powers, which Conor gets to feel and enjoy and practice, as he accompanies Maya on several perilous quests to repair the Crossworlds corridors. Maya is the only one of the huge cats who can travel with Conor through the Crossworlds, but the other cats are able to lend Conor their powers and magical abilities to help him fight the many terrifying foes that are trying to prevent the corridor repairs. In order to give Maya the time he needs to work the repairs on the corridors, Conor must battle and defeat a human-dragon mutant, a formless entity and a shape-shifting master of darkness. Oh, the deliciously scary things we come face to face with on this journey!

The action-packed fast pace will have you turning page after page as fast as possible to see what comes next, because this author holds nothing back in his quest to show you every corner of the Crossworlds and all the dangers that lurk within. As Conor battles each wicked foe, your heart beats faster as you try to think past what is happening to all of the possible outcomes, only to be surprised by the turn of events.

The battle scenes are huge in dimension and impact as Conor fights for his life, using his wits and the powers of the mighty Crossworlds Champions. What incredible powers he wields as he fights the best (or is that the worst?) that the Circle of Evil can throw at him. Entire worlds are involved; the span of our imagination grows with each battle. As I was reading, I kept envisioning these scenes on a big screen, wondering how the movie world would create the amazing things that come straight from this author’s incredible imagination. This mind-blowing series of battles against the Circle of Evil’s finest team of destroyers would be quite a feat to translate to the big screen, but my goodness, what an awesome thing that would be to see and to hear! Hollywood, are you paying attention here????

I was impressed with the first book of "Conor and the Crossworlds” and was wondering if the second book would be as good as the first or, as sometimes happens, not live up to the promise. Well, let me tell you, I was NOT disappointed after reading the second book in a series that is turning out to be a highly entertaining and enjoyable read. There is so much MORE in this second book for everyone to enjoy, fast paced action, close calls around every bend, tender moments between Conor and the amazing giant cats who are the Crossworld Champions, surprises, treachery, deception, battles to end all battles and foes that will curl your hair!

There is a wonderful sense of right fighting against wrong in Conor’s perilous journey and you see him grow stronger and wiser with every confrontation. I truly think that we, as readers, grow with him and learn with him and come away with the sense that we want to change our world for the better, now that we know what can go horribly wrong if we continue as we are. Three cheers to the author, Kevin Gerard, for giving us reality’s lessons disguised as enchanting fiction.

I was carried along on this journey with Conor and Maya and the other Crossworld Champions and they will always be a part of my heart. This book will have to be reread, slowly this time, just so I can savor the relationships and the experiences once more. The author has left me with a deep hunger for the NEXT book in this series and, for all the world, I have NO idea where his imagination is going to take me next time, but I am ready for the ride! Bring it on, Kevin, but please bring it on SOON!

The author, Kevin Gerard, lives in San Diego, CA, with his wife and four children. When he is not busy being a successful professor of sociology and statistics for California State University, San Marcos, you will find him doing fun things with his extended family in and around the San Diego area. The Crossworlds series provided the main impetus for his decision to pursue a professional writing career and may prove to him that he can now concentrate on writing full time, to the exclusion of all other endeavors.

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