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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
Beyond the Cliff and Courage, written and illustrated by Vanessa Bettencourt, is an epic adventure. The story takes place in the Wild Lands which is the land of all sorts of bugs. We meet Aion, a young bug who is determined to run away during the festival celebrating his father. Things don't quite go as planned, and the menacing spiders show up and kidnap one of his closest friends. Aion is determined to rescue her and bravely starts on his way. As with any good adventure story, there are twists and turns along the way. He meets numerous creatures who both help and hinder him. He also learns that what began as a rescue mission has turned into something even more important. The story culminates in an epic battle. Will Aion and his companions survive?
Beyond the Cliff and Courage is an engrossing action story filled with interesting characters. It also serves as a coming-of-age story for our young bug Aion, who slowly recognizes who he is and what he can accomplish. Vanessa Bettencourt has included multiple illustrations throughout the book that greatly enhance the story. Each of her many characters is fully realized and brings added depth to this fantasy world. I love the humor that is included as well, especially with Sly the Snail. Fans of The Warriors and Redwall will love immersing themselves in the world of the Wild Lands. Beyond the Cliff and Courage is an enjoyable read, and might even make you appreciate bugs, even spiders, a little bit more.