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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Five is Book One of the Maor Series, a young adult contemporary fantasy written by Caroline Greyling. Shaylee is your typical 16-year-old who has plenty of hopes and dreams. She’s into dancing, has written a story that’s been published in a magazine, and she loves her life in Johannesburg, even if her parents are quite a bit stricter than those of her friends. They've been even more careful about her lately as her 17th birthday gets closer and seem to be taking her to the doctor for the tiniest complaint. When they hear that the nightmares Shaylee was plagued with as a child have returned, her parents unexpectedly make arrangements to ship her back to England to stay with her Nan. Shaylee’s infuriated by the short notice they give her as the dance performance she and her friend Luke had worked so hard on is about to happen, but her parents are committed to their decision, and Shaylee must say goodbye to everything she knows and has grown up with.
Caroline Greyling’s Five, Maor Series, Book One, is a marvelous and well-plotted young adult fantasy. Her characters are finely drawn and very believable, and the mythological premise for the story is beautifully handled. Shaylee is a compelling character whose life has suddenly been taken over by forces she’s totally ignorant of, and it’s hard not to feel involved in her plight. Much of the story takes place in Aylburton in the Forest of Dean, and the descriptions of the woods and natural surroundings are magnificent, lush and luxuriant, evoking a traditional fairy tale atmosphere for this fantasy story. Each chapter is headed with an emotion and five descriptors, which are from Shaylee’s little journal, Five, and she saves them for use in her writing. I found myself looking forward to each perceptive and insightful set. Five is an original and thought-provoking fantasy infused with fairytale and mythological elements. It’s also an inspired coming of age tale, and it’s most highly recommended.