Cristobal

The Marks of Yggdrasil

Young Adult - Fantasy - Urban
274 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Teresa Syms for Readers' Favorite

Cristobal was a newborn when he was abandoned at the orphanage. As he grew up, he knew he was different, but it wasn’t until his thirteenth birthday, when he received a mysterious letter informing him that he is a wizard, that his true journey begins. Cristobal was born with the Mark of Yggdrasil. Because of his mark, he becomes a target for the UMANA, The United Magical And Non-Magical Alliance. Cristobal soon learns he can never return to Father John and his old life. With help, he embarks on an adventure to discover the truth behind the seven-centuries-old peace treaty signed by the Viking wizard warriors who helped to discover the new world. Author Anthony A Valleriani opens a new world to Cristobal and his friends. If Cristobal survives, he will discover the truth behind the Viking wizards and himself.

Cristobal by Anthony A Valleriani is a captivating and well-paced novel from beginning to end. The reader is instantly drawn into the story of Cristobal and how isolated he feels while growing up in the orphanage. He is marked as ‘different and strange’ by the other boys, not to mention the unusual birth mark on his arm. The author draws the reader into Cristobal’s world of isolation, but the reader is soon transported into the wizarding world of magic, ancient peace treaties and Vikings. The reader will find themselves cheering on the successes of Cristobal and his companions as they venture forth to learn the truth behind the UMANA, the disappearing wizarding children, and ancient prophecies. Will Cristobal survive? You need to read this entertaining book to find out.

Ray Simmons

I’ve always liked Norse mythology. It just seemed darker and a lot more realistic, or even pessimistic than the Greek stuff. It is also rarer. Writers are more likely to write about Zeus or Apollo than they are about Odin and Thor. Anthony A. Valleriani is one of those exceptions. I’m glad he decided to go with his own version of Norse mythology. Cristobal is an exceptional novel. I don’t think you could get the same mystery, darkness, and foreboding if it was a story concerning other pantheons. I liked the fact that young Cristobal is a weird guy, with his own unique powers and opinions. I am always looking for something different and Cristobal is nothing if it is not unique.

I liked the main character, Cristobal, who the book is titled after. He is a lonely orphan, but he is not terribly lonely, because in truth, he’s a natural born loner. You have to like him, or you probably won’t like the book. This is his story in every way. There are other characters, but we don’t get to know them like we get to know Cristobal. The plot is strong. It starts in the distant past, and works its way slowly to the present as it unwinds. The writing is good, and sets the tone for all the magic and mayhem that is finally unleashed. I enjoyed the writing and I enjoyed the story. I love secret treaties and the secret organizations that make them. Anthony A. Valleriani has a bright future with his dark version of this genre.

Arya Fomonyuy

Cristobal: The Marks of Yggdrasil by Anthony A Valleriani is a young adult urban fantasy, a story that offers hints of ancient lore, a powerful magical world, and a huge conflict. It has been seven hundred years since the peace treaty signed by the Viking warlord and wizards who helped in the discovery of the New World. Now, that treaty is about to expire, and the time of the ancient prophecies that predicted the birth of three children with the Mark of the Yggdrasil could be here.

The infant, Cristobal, shows signs of what could be a mark of the Yggdrasil, and to protect him, they send him to grow up in an orphanage, far from the prying eyes of men and the United Magical and Non-Magical Alliance. When he turns thirteen, he is handed a letter that unveils who he really is. He now knows he is a wizard and he isn’t the only one aware of this dread truth; the UMANA knows he exists and that he is alone. Can he embrace his real identity and craft his place in a world that is reeling with conflict and where he is a target for those who stand against magic?

Anthony A Valleriani creates an exciting world for fans of fantasy, a world with its own rules and a world where the quest for power remains a point of interest for many. I love characters that evolve throughout the story, and Cristobal is one of such characters, so readers can watch him grow, feeling his way in the world and discovering his personality. The narrative is exceptional, beginning with events that took place many years ago. Told in a powerful third person narrative, it features great writing and dialogues that are as interesting as they are natural. You will be carried away, plunged headfirst into the world of Cristobal: The Marks of Yggdrasil. The adventure is exciting.

Christian Sia

Cristobal: The Marks of Yggdrasil by Anthony A Valleriani is an epic fantasy with a complex plot and a legendary hero. It’s one of those books that will appeal to fans of fantasy with a magical world and a strong conflict. The setting is equally well-developed, an exciting world ruled by powerful men, where harmony is about to be disrupted, thanks to the end of a peace treaty forged seven centuries ago. The book stands out in its originality and in the unique narrative voice.

The peace treaty was established among the powerful Viking wizards who discovered the New World, but it is about to expire. Prophecies have indicated that a time would come when three children will rise with the Mark of Yggdrasil and the newborn, Cristobal, has one of what looks like those marks. Now he is sent to grow up in an orphanage, away from the world of strong men of the organization that controls the alliances between the magical and non-magical worlds. When the young man turns thirteen, he receives a letter that will lead him to the truth of who he really is. The discovery isn’t surprising, but knowing that he is a wizard opens a new path before him, a path of danger, more than he could fathom, and of solitude. Follow him as he learns to embrace himself in a world embroiled in conflict. Only too soon he becomes a target - can he master his skills quickly enough to protect himself and the world?

Cristobal: The Marks of Yggdrasil is a breezy, enjoyable read, a well-crafted story that will transport readers to another world. I enjoyed the plot — fast and complex — with its unexpected twists and surprises. The protagonist is well-developed and readers will enjoy the fact that he is at the center of the conflict that moves the plot. Anthony A Valleriani is a skilled writer and his characters are as memorable as the story he creates. I found the novel to be a work of great entertainment.

Kim Anisi

Cristobal, our hero in Cristobal by Anthony A Valleriani, was given to an orphanage when he was just a baby. He never knew who his parents were and why they had given him up. The orphanage is far removed from the conflict between magical and non-magical people, so Cristobal has little contact with magic and wizards. But he suspects that he is a wizard himself! He cannot tell anybody though; every time he tries, he makes a fool of himself by making funny noises instead of speaking the truth. But one day, when his bullies push him to his limit, he uses his powers against them and then flees the orphanage - just to run into someone sinister who is looking for him. Cristobal finds refuge, but knows that he can never go back home. Someone is after him, and other people are now in danger because of him. Will Cristobal learn enough about his special powers to find a happy ending?

This book made me feel like there was a lot of potential to delve deeper, which holds a lot of promise for future novels in the series. I enjoyed spending time with the characters so much that I did not want that time to end too soon. I immediately liked Cristobal because he's your (un)usual underdog who slowly turns into some kind of hero while discovering more about who he is. He shows that even the most unlikely characters can, in the end, come out on top. It's not always the bullies who win - though there are certainly some very close calls during the story, and many questions remain open at the end. I loved that one of the supporting cast members is a mystical bird. I just hope that nothing will happen to the "baby" in future volumes! A future romance is also hinted at, so there is a lot of excitement up ahead for Cristobal and his friends. Everyone had a role in the book, no character was superfluous. I would recommend this book for all lovers of fantasy novels who enjoy losing their connection to the real world for a while. This book is a good excuse to shut the door, make yourself comfortable, and have a few hours just to yourself.