Carl's Side

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
230 Pages
Reviewed on 04/18/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Carl's Side by Lila Drowos is a fantasy adventure about the search for family. Carl has only ever known one thing: that he's an orphan. But things may change when he discovers that his parents may still be alive. He embarks on a journey with the hope of bringing his parents home, but his trip takes a detour when a boat ride and a mysterious stranger send him into a hidden world. The next thing he knows, he's discovering the magic of another world and encountering trolls, fairies, and vampires. The further he's drawn into this world, the more shocking secrets he uncovers about his own family which could put his life at risk and threaten the world. With new allies, Carl finds hope to save a family he doesn't know and maybe even save the world.

Carl is driven by his desire to find his parents and a real home due to growing up as an orphan and living with an uncle who yells at him over the smallest mistakes. Carl's journey is rooted in a place of hope for his future but to get to his happily ever after, he must first face various dangers and friends he encounters along the way. Elements of mystery are woven throughout as Carl uncovers secrets about his family, providing layers of suspense throughout the story. The journey brings various allies into Carl's life, people that give him the first real experience of what having a family feels like. Ivy is his best friend who helps get him started on his journey, but it's the various characters like Stephanie the pirate, Jolly the pirate, and Josephine the fairy that help him along the way.

Each character has a significant place within his journey as an ally with their own struggles such as Josephine being deemed a traitor by the queen. His journey takes him from a boy who had nothing to a boy that discovers family, bravery, and adventure. Lila Drowos's writing delivers vivid descriptions that provide intricate details of the characters, such as Ivy's voice described as being glittery and magical. The story is aimed at middle-grade readers and will send children on an epic journey that has heart, humor, and vampires. Carl's Side is a fun-filled tale about a boy searching for his family which leads him to embark on a heartwarming adventure.