Erift's Journeys: Secrets of The Sealed Forest

Children - Preteen
297 Pages
Reviewed on 06/19/2022
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Author Biography

J.T. Tenera will fully admit that he never wanted to become an author when he was a child. Born March 10th, 1987, his dreams consisted of one thing; making video games when he grew up. However, a project in the 8th grade changed his mind. His class was tasked with writing and illustrating their own children’s book. After receiving 110% on the project, and being told by his teacher that he was talented in story telling, he started down a more creative path. Especially since he later learned that making video games was a lot more complicated than he thought as a child.

Tenera originally published Erift’s Journeys when he was a senior in high school. It was a proud moment seeing the story he dreamed about finished as a real book. However, it was all just for fun. He wouldn’t realize his desire to take his writing to a professional level until 2019. Mostly self-taught, Tenera now works to bring his world to life for readers of all ages, all while doing his best to find time to game in between.

Never stop dreaming, readers!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ammaarah Seboa for Readers' Favorite

When opportunity comes knocking at your door, do you jump with both feet or do you settle for another boring summer? Joseph receives an invitation from Professor Benjamin Thessit to test out a new video game on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Murean Islands. Thinking that it’s a scam, he drags his best friend Eric along for the ride. However, everything is not as it seems and the secrets of this world are revealed. With the scatterbrained Professor and their hometown bully on the island, their summer is about to be anything but boring! Join Joseph and Eric in Erift’s Journey, book one in J.T. Tenera’s Secrets of the Sealed Forest, in their adventure into a world of magic.

First things first, I loved how J.T. Tenera's style made Secrets of the Sealed Forest: Erift’s Journey their own. With many children’s books exploring the world of magic, we are used to the same incantations in a sense. However, in Erift’s Journey, the notion of magic is a lost language, with its own alphabet consisting of symbols. The world-building was beautifully developed and allows readers to follow along. It’s a great book for children of all ages and echoes the tales of Camelot and Atlantis. This is a dream come true for those who wish we had magical powers. J.T. Tenera’s writing, by way of the “nutty Professor”, focuses on the fact that we all have a little magic in us. I think that is a beautiful message to be sending out, especially to children who are easily influenced by what they come across online. Can’t wait for the next book!

Pikasho Deka

Secrets of The Sealed Forest is the first installment of the Erift's Journeys series by J.T. Tenera. When seventeen-year-old Joseph Erift and his best friend, Eric Castis, unexpectedly receive an invitation to the tropical resort island of Murean for a games and adventure retreat, they can hardly believe their luck. To their surprise, however, the island of Murean turns out to be a place of magic and wonder, where Professor Benjamin Thessit teaches the two magical spells and gives them flying lessons on a Skyship. Meanwhile, Joseph and Eric learn about the threat posed by a young man named Ryan Morter, who is hell-bent on breaking the Magic Seals to unleash the uncontrollable Obsidian magic. As Joseph and Eric traverse the world, tracking Ryan, they must stop him from executing his plans. Will they succeed?

A wild rollercoaster of a ride you don't want to end, Secrets of The Sealed Forest is a stellar start to the Erift's Journeys series. Author J.T. Tenera crafts an engaging fantasy adventure yarn for middle-grade kids that will have them on the edge of their seats and leave them asking for more. The plot is well-paced, with lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end. The characters are quirky and vibrant, with colorful traits to their personalities that make for plenty of entertaining scenes. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Joseph and Eric. Their banter and quick back and forth were the primary highlights of the book for me. Recommended to preteens and young adults.

K.C. Finn

Secrets of the Sealed Forest: Erift's Journeys is a work of fiction in the fantasy subgenre and serves as the opening installment of the Erift’s Journeys series. It is aimed at young readers and was penned by J.T. Tenera. The book follows Joseph Erift after he travels far from home to attend a video game event only to find himself seeing real-life magic spells after a strange professor sends him on a quest. Faced with the responsibility of stopping someone from awakening a dangerous power that could bring ruin, Erift must quickly learn to adapt to his new world.

This is a stunning debut novel that pushes the boundary of fantasy. The incredibly descriptive writing successfully blurs the real world and fantasy for the reader, just as it did for Erift himself. J.T. Tenera balances the fantastical and the grounded flawlessly to create a unique flavor of prose. This is just right for depicting both the dangerous adventures and the personal development of Erift and his friend Eric as the story unfolds. The story is perfectly pitched at the intended audience with the sense of adventure filled with peril that will appeal to pre-teens, though as an adult I also found myself hooked into the world of Secrets of the Sealed Forest. I am excited to see what direction the rest of the series will follow as Erift continues his adventures in the world of magic. I recommend this book to readers of all ages.