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Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
The Adventurer by Stephen Peeples is a great action story that plunges kids headlong into the world of reading. Written to encourage kids to pick up books, the story maintains a brisk pace as it follows young hero Owen Spar. A pugnacious little treasure-hunter, Owen goes on his most difficult quest yet when he seeks a way to find a rare fig tree whose fruit is needed by his sister. But a wily and gifted tracker named Tal Thorn stands in his way after Owen steals a unique ruby in order to access the cave of the Jade People. The village where the ruby was located sends Thorn to find and bring back the boy. Will Thorn and his new assistants take the ruby and disrupt Owen’s quest? Or will he let the boy go, creating new challenges for himself?
With fast-paced, short chapters loaded with simple, but vivid world-building, Owen’s adventures are punctuated with pluck and resolve. The Adventurer is a deceptively simple story that grows like a vine and entwines itself around you. Sand that talks, caverns that open up at his feet, floods, dangerous snakes, not to mention a bunch of people after him because he stole their ruby—everything is an obstacle that Owen will not allow to daunt him. The selfless and brave boy who wins the respect even of the unfriendly Itani animals and the stern Tal tracker is just the kind of character that keeps a story rolling, and a medley of interesting challenges and creative situations give Stephen Peeples’ book the feel of a classic adventure story. If it reminds you of something great, it probably reminds you of something that sinks into your mind and wants to stay there—and that’s the feeling The Adventurer will leave with you.