Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review on The Tree of Mindala by Elle Jacklee

I normally don’t read middle grade books, but I have to admit, when I saw this gorgeous cover, it captured my attention.

 
I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review, so lets get to it.

I give this book five stars because of the author's wonderful imagination and her character development.

The Tree of Mindala is about a soon-to-be twelve year old girl named Miranda Moon. I love her character. She has quite the imagination and is always up for an adventure. Her younger brother Marcus, on the other hand, is a goody-goody, tends to be pessimistic, and runs with the popular crowd. Miranda is the complete opposite. She always sees the brighter side of things, and she never holds back her overactive imagination, which gets her into trouble from time to time.

When Miranda’s parents decide to take them to their deceased grandparent’s cabin for a few days, Marcus is not a happy camper. It’s Halloween weekend, and he won’t be able to go to the Halloween party, hosted by the most popular guy in school. He blames Miranda because she got suspended from school. She had told her classmates she saw a mermaid in a nearby pond, which created quite a disruption in her class. Her teacher was not amused.

Marcus barks at Miranda after they arrive at the cabin: “When are you going to stop making up stories and realize life is not all tall tales and make-believe?”

Marcus changes his tune, though, when Miranda discovers a water globe, stowed away in the cabin. This unique globe houses a little stone house surrounded by large, healthy trees. The twinkling stars and brilliant moon, lights up the green leaves against the dark sky. Curious about Miranda’s discovery, Marcus crouches beside her on the floor to get a closer look. But when Miranda turns the globe upside down, something extraordinary happens. She and Marcus are no longer in the cabin. Instead, they somehow enter another realm called Wunderwood–a land where using magic is as common as brushing your teeth. The source of Wunderwood’s magic derives from an enchanting tree called Mindala. Without this tree, people of this land believe there would be no magic. Or, if somebody were to possess this tree’s entire essence, he or she will become all powerful and be able to rule Wunderwood. It so happens, one person tries to do just that. His name is Thornton Crow. He’s a warlock who is gifted in magic. He once was a good person, until he had the Kindred Dream.

When a child turns twelve in Wunderwood, the memories of the last deceased relative of the same gender are revealed to them while they’re asleep. Thornton’s misguided and power-hungry father died by the hands of a Wunderwoodian, who had no choice but to kill him. So when Thornton had his Kindred Dream, he experienced and felt what his father had experienced. From then on, as the years went by, Thornton secretly plotted a devious plan to be the most powerful warlock in Wunderwood and rule the land. But then one day, a nonmagical person entered the land and in the end, he imprisoned Mr. Crow for forty years. That is, until Miranda accidentally frees him with the water globe she finds.

To prevent any spoilers, I must be vague in the rest of this review. All I can say is Miranda and Marcus has a connection to this magical world. When Miranda realizes her mistake in releasing the binding spell that was placed on Thornton, she feels responsible. She then sets out on her own personal quest to stop this cunning warlock from carrying out his evil plan in finding the tree of Mindala and robbing it of its essence.

This debut novel by Elle Jacklee is an imaginative one. My favorite character is Skye. He’s a Morphiad, which means he can transform into any creature he has ever touched. Skye is loyal, trustworthy, and a bit ornery. He’s somebody you’d want to have on your side.

I recommend this book to readers who liked C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But I have to say, The Tree of Mindala, is a bigger book and encompass a lot more information than C.S. Lewis’ did. However, both stories reflect a magical land where animals talk and people are divided due to their beliefs and where their allegiance lies.

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