Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain (Book1)

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/30/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Thuan Doan was born in Indonesia, and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Thuan has been fascinated by art from a young age, especially fantasy. He would wake up hours before school, sit outside the classroom, and scribble in his sketch book.

After college, he worked on a series of jobs, including: an advergaming association as a storyboard/concept artist, gaming company as lead concept artist, and graphic designer for various clients.

Thuan conceived his first middle-grade fantasy novel, Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain, during a trip to Gabriola Island, British Columbia in the summer of 2013. Then he took his work and settled in a small town of Enderby, where it’s peaceful and quiet. 4 years later, the story is complete. While book 1 and 2 is being shared with the world, he's writing and illustrating book 3 of the Sophia Freeman series.

Thuan is writing under a pen name of T.X. Troan. “X” stands for Xu, his grandmother’s name who passed away. And “Troan” is a combination of his parents' names.

“No matter how this turns out, I want my family to be a part of this wonderful journey.”

T.X. Troan married Sarah, his original fan and longtime love, in 2016. They live in Enderby with their pack dogs and school of fish!

Hobbies: Writing, drawing, hiking, and spending time with family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain is a fantasy/adventure book for children by T.X. Troan. Sophia is a lonely young girl, whose mother has passed away and whose father is too wrapped up in his business affairs to spend any time with her. Materially, Sophia wishes for nothing but really all she desires is to spend some time with her dad. Her father insists that he is building up his business empire just for her, that she will take it over from him one day, but deep down Sophia wants nothing to do with it and loses herself in her one great passion, her fantasy art. When Sophia’s dad tells her he has bought an island that he plans to turn into a luxury resort and he wants her to view it, all Sophia sees is the possibility of a trip with her dad and the incredibly rare chance to spend some quality time with him. Things do not go as planned, however, and Sophia soon finds herself alone and frightened in a battle for survival on an island that shows every hint of being terrifying.

As a reader who is long past his childhood days, I still thoroughly enjoyed this romp. Author T. X. Troan has created a scenario that many of his target audience will be more than aware of – a child neglected of time and attention by a parent desperately trying to make material advances in their situation. The character of Sophia was wonderfully written with many layers of personality explored as the journey unraveled. For a children’s book, there was still plenty of drama, conflict and even violence but the author’s moral tale was well preserved and the scariness inherent in the story was more than tolerable. It is a fine balance between scaring a young audience half to death and imparting a great moral lesson. I think Troan has found that balance well in this tale. The pictures were a great adjunct to the text. If your children are mature and capable of handling the conflict scenes, I think this is an excellent book to encourage young people to read. It hits all the right notes in action and character development and imparts a wonderful lesson to young readers. As an aged 'child' myself, I can recommend this book very highly.

Jack Magnus

Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain is an adventure fantasy novel for preteens and young adults written and illustrated by T.X. Troan. Sophia Freeman’s irritation at seeing her dad waiting for her outside her middle school was quickly extinguished when her billionaire dad explained why he hadn’t let her take the bus as they had earlier agreed upon. Their relationship had never been all that good; her dad was far too busy with his business dealings to ever really have had time for Sophia and her mom. Now that her mom was dead, what little time they shared was impersonal and fleeting at best. Her dad had actually come that afternoon with the news that promised big changes in their relationship. He excitedly told her that he had just negotiated the purchase of an island, an entire island, named Pandilone, and he wanted Sophia to come and explore it with him. Sophia’s mind boggled at the idea of an entire island, and her heart leaped at the idea of spending an entire day there with her dad.

Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain is a fast-paced and exciting coming of age story about an artistic preteen and her adventures on the mysterious island recently acquired by her business-tycoon dad. Troan’s plot is imaginative and original, and his characters are finely honed and credible. I particularly enjoyed meeting the beings Sophia encounters on Pandilone and sharing her experiences there. Troan’s illustrations work so well with the story and serve to heighten the reader’s involvement in Sophia’s adventures. Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain is most highly recommended.

Kris Moger

Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain by T.X. Troan follows the mysterious journey of young Sophia Freeman as she hopes to finally rebuild her relationship with her father. After her mother dies, Sophia’s father delved into his work to deal with his grief, leaving Sophia to the care of servants. Alone most of the time, she works on her art skills and longs for the close family she used to have. One day, her father picks her up from school and tells her he is taking her with him on a trip to an island he has bought. Excited and hopeful, Sophia imagines this adventure as a new beginning for her and her father. Unfortunately, the island visit doesn’t go as planned, and now not only is her relationship with her father at stake but so is her very life.

T.X. Troan has built a great adventure in Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain. Sophia’s journey is filled with surprises and unusual characters that make this story a terrific read. Added to this is page after page of beautiful and colorful original artwork. I loved following Sophia’s growth as she struggles to save herself, her father, and an island filled with magic. As well, underneath this wonderful tale is the reminder of the importance of nature and everyone’s connection to it. The enemy is fascinating, the world unique, and the story is easy yet hard to put down. I can easily see both parent and child enjoying this book together as they become invested in Sophia’s plight.

Michelle Robertson

Sophia never has to worry about wanting anything. She has everything she could imagine, thanks to her millionaire dad. Everything except his approval of her passion for painting. Her paintings do not appeal to her father who thinks she needs to concentrate more on the family business he hopes she will one day take over. The very business that does not allow for much time with her father and a lot of time to herself. One exciting day she is invited to join her father on a trip to view an island he had just recently purchased for the business. To her surprise, before she knew it she found herself alone and thinking she was half crazy! The island appeared to be coming to life and her father was nowhere to be found! Will Sophia be able to withstand what the island has in store for her?

Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain by T.X. Troan is an incredibly delightful children’s book with well-developed characters and plot. T.X. Troan provides readers with a relatable story filled with raw emotions and life lessons. The story elaborates on each character's purpose, emotions, and selflessness. The book can also be used as a teaching tool or reference for young readers to explore the concepts of self-awareness, self-healing, selfishness, selflessness, compassion, control, and many other emotions. Combining those concepts and life lessons into a story filled with mysterious elements, imaginative creatures, magic, and adventure allows this book to be easily read and understood. The artwork is vibrant and colorful, allowing the young reader to easily imagine the story being brought to life or being watched on television. Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain is a fun, creative, and adventurous read for a young child, and one that adolescents and adults alike will also enjoy.

Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer)

Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain by T. X. Troan is an entertaining fantasy story about a young girl named Sophia. Her father, a billionaire, is never available to spend time with her, so she is stunned when he invites her to go explore an island with him. However, when they get there, they are attacked by magical creatures and her father ends up abandoning her. A tree boy named Silimon begins to train her in how to protect herself against the creatures of the island, and she begins to learn magic. However, she soon discovers that the island has a curse. The only way to save herself is to drink water from a fountain. But the path to the fountain is dangerous. Will she make it there before it's too late?

I enjoyed reading Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain by T. X. Troan. The book is well written and descriptive. I like the concept of the island and how it is seemingly on earth, despite the fact that it is so different. The characters' friendships with each other are realistically written. The book has the makings of a fairytale with fearless characters and a magical setting. Readers will be drawn in from the first page and will want to continue reading. The book contains shocking plot twists that will surprise readers. The colorful pictures are a nice touch and are very well created. The story is very intriguing and filled with action and adventure. I would recommend this book to all fantasy lovers.