How Niels and Festie Faced the Skyfire

Children - Adventure
126 Pages
Reviewed on 10/31/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite

How Niels and Festie Faced the Skyfire by Oliver Atlas tells the story of a boy who goes on an extraordinary adventure when he befriends a young phoenix. Daring Niels has his own laboratory deep in the earth, accessed by an elevator, and is always up for anything adventurous. By contrast, the phoenix, who has a very long name and goes by the nickname of Festie, is timid and insecure. She comes from a family of noble birds for whom fire is a natural element. From their headquarters in the Redwood Forest, the great birds chase down lightning--the skyfire--before it can strike and be destructive. Festie is afraid of lightning, but after she and her new human friend travel the world chasing three secret mythical fires, she’s ready to prove herself as a huge storm bears down on her home.

A crisply-written story laced with beautiful descriptions, How Niels and Festie Faced the Skyfire is a thrill ride of friendship and courage. Pyramids, sunsets and rolling storms, even the Moon--Oliver Atlas really captures what going on adventures with a fiery phoenix would be like. His writing made me feel as if I were getting into the thick of things along with Niels as he helped Festie search for the Sandfire, the Icefire, and the Moonfire. I loved the mythology of the story and how each kind of fire, including lightning, had its own personality and significance. But the sweep of action with an exuberant dose of fun is combined with a quite real, child-like little phoenix who just needs a friend and can’t begin--she’s sure--to live up to the grand expectations of her family. More than just an adventure story, the book has some outstanding characters who propel the plot through their chemistry together, making for a fulfilling tale that winds to a wonderful conclusion in the vein of many great children’s stories.