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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
The Hidden City of Chelldrah-ham: Stig’s Flight of Encounters by Stephan von Clinkerhoffen is the first of a two-book tale. Young Stig crashes his plane whilst on a test flight, and he finds himself transported in a pod of some sort far from home to a strange land where vicious and evil bat-like creatures called Bachs exist. Stig’s long journey to get back home takes him through perilous lands and situations – but at least he has his mechanical skills, a map from his father, a developing ability to “hear” the messages in nature’s beings, and a new friend called Meg who teaches him how to survive. Stig has to use all his wits and willingness to be caring and helpful too – but will this be enough to get him back to Chelldrah-ham? Who is the mystery creature following him, and how will his journey have changed him and the attitudes of the Elders and people in his homeland?
Stephan von Clinkerhoffen is a talented, excellent writer and has created a very well written and well-crafted novel. I love the writing style with all the vivid and unique imagery. The words flow along and the reader is soon transported into this “other” world of the characters where nature and The Motherland commune with creations. The gradual and the clever, unpredictable way the plot unfolds, with little stories or insights within the story, meant I was intrigued and kept guessing until the end. Stig and Meg and the other characters are unique, unusual and yet believable too. Stig learns much about himself and about life through his journey – being careful not to harm nature, finding ways to resolve conflict and face or deal with evil, as well as coming to an understanding about priorities and what matters most in life. He finds those whom he meets on the journey need his skills and help as much as he needs their assistance. Good life lessons for young readers too. There is a lovely magical feel to the story - everything seems to have a purpose: even pockets in special clothing will decide whether or not to open! A great story for YA fantasy fans and I sincerely recommend it.