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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Within the Territory of Noella Provence, there was a kingdom, Sovorotskina, known as the Land of Goodness and Light. It was ruled by the great wizard King Gateskin and his fairy queen wife, Solinara. They had three children, Serena, Simon, and Catalina, all with special magical powers. They had to keep the magic secret as there was an evil power in a nearby kingdom, in the land of Parotovina, the Land of Darkness. This evil power once stole an entire village’s children to claim the magic for their own people, to use this magic for evil. When King Gateskin is kidnapped, Serena and her siblings combine their powers and resources, enlisting the help of a new friend, a Sprite by the name of Spindle, to rescue the king as well as the descendants of those “taken” children.
Janice Spina’s young adult novel, The Legend of the Taken Ones, is the first book in a six-book fantasy series, The Gateskin Chronicles. With an exciting plot full of magic and the conflicting powers of good and evil, this story is a real page-turner. The story begins with background information on the taken ones, the children kidnapped by the evil powers of Parotovina. Knowing that evil continues to lurk nearby, the magical kingdom of King Gateskin is always on high alert. The adventure truly begins when the king is kidnapped and the children set out on a journey of their own, intent on rescuing their father and leader. This is an epic, high-fantasy adventure that follows in the time-tested style of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: the ongoing battles between good and evil and the true magic that is found within one’s heart and in the bonds of family and friendship.