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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Prince Haille had always been made to feel responsible for the death of his beloved mother and queen, since she died giving birth to him. Coupled with the stigma of his mother’s death, he is considered a cripple, an invalid, even a freak, because of his “shaking sickness” (I'm assuming this is probably epilepsy). When Haille discovers his father, the king, plans to send him away to an orphanage for afflicted children, he determines to seek out and find the legendary Font of Jasmeen, where it is said the enchanted statue can cure and heal any afflicted child. Along with his classmate, Katlyn, the two fourteen-year-olds head out into a land beset by the threat of war and ruled by duplicitous and self-serving lords, only loyal to Haille’s father when it suits their purposes. So begins Ted Neill’s young adult adventure, The Font of Jasmeen.
I’m certainly not a young adult, The Font of Jasmeen’s target market, but I’m happy to say this book is suitable for all ages. This is the first book of Ted Neill’s that I’ve read, but I hazard a guess it won’t be the last. I loved the rollicking style of this adventure, as Haille and Katlyn lurched from one crisis to another, never sure who their allies and friends really were. The two principal characters were easily relatable, both mercilessly bullied at school for varying reasons. One thing I particularly liked about the story was that Neill allowed his “hero” (Haille) to be exactly what he was; a fourteen-year-old boy, full of angst, self-doubt and often making the wrong decisions for what seemed the right reasons to his teenage mind. This book is a fantastic read and will appeal to anyone who likes epic fantasy and certainly not just to its intended target market of young adults. I am excited that The Font of Jasmeen is part of a series and a quick glance at its companion volumes on Amazon tells me the other stories in the series focus on some of the bit-players in this book. Excellent – on my TBR list now.