The Secrets of Olthamol

A Dark History

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
303 Pages
Reviewed on 06/28/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Secrets of Olthamol is a young adult sci-fi novel by Jed Saba and Jeff Prahl. Ayden Ladders has always felt different. Since moving to Springfield, Missouri as a young boy with his father, inexplicable events have occurred around him. After losing control of his extraordinary powers during a party, Ayden, his father Kendric, and his best friend, Marwen Kattam, suddenly find themselves on the hidden island of Olthamol in the Pacific. Now, Ayden and Marwen have to act as recruits and attend the Ambridge School of Alquaa. Alquaa is a rare element found only on Olthamol. Meanwhile, a man named Fletcher Vandershum has been kidnapping people all over the island and seeks to get his hands on a weapon of mass destruction. Can Ayden and his friends stop Fletcher's nefarious plans?

Full of action, suspense, and mystery, The Secrets of Olthamol is a brilliant start to what promises to be a fascinating superhero/sci-fi saga. This novel plays out like a superhero origin story as Jed Saba and Jeff Prahl introduce readers to the key players in the tale and the mysterious island of Olthamol and all it entails. The plot has a brisk pace to it and contains a few unexpected twists and turns that will surprise the most ardent superhero fiction fan. I loved the worldbuilding in this book. Saba and Prahl have built an enrapturing world featuring monstrous creatures, unique elements, and plenty of lore to delight science fiction readers. I also immensely enjoyed the different dynamics between Ayden and his friends. Fletcher is a compelling villain, someone you want to see brought down by the protagonist. Fans of young adult superhero tales or science fiction readers should definitely grab a copy.

Rabia Tanveer

The Secrets of Olthamol: A Dark History by Jed Saba is a young adult science fiction novel that takes readers on a journey through strange lands with very interesting characters. Ayden Ladders was not an ordinary boy. He had a great immune system and purple eyes, and animals seemed to like him more than any other human. Working in the zoo allowed him to be near animals, plus having his best friend, Marwen, work there with him was a bonus. However, things changed when the friends were somehow transported to a strange island called Olthamol. Hidden from the rest of the world, the island had secrets of its own. While the island was thriving as a nation, its secrets made it the most dangerous place for Ayden and Marwen. The boys needed to find a way to get back home, but before they could get home, they needed to protect themselves. But would they get the chance?

The Secrets of Olthamol: A Dark History by Jed Saba is the perfect story! It is a great example of what a young adult science fiction novel should be like. It had an authentic plot, a great narrative, and exceptional characters. Ayden and Marwen were both fascinating. They were interesting characters. While Ayden was reeling and trying to make sense of the powers he had, Marwen was having a grand time being his sidekick and enjoying life. More often than not, Marwen was the voice of reason for Ayden. He supported Ayden and made sure he was in the right frame of mind to figure out the secrets of his family and Olthamol. The world-building was great, the character-building was incredible, and the pace was just right. I highly, highly recommend this novel!

K.C. Finn

The Secrets of Olthamol: A Dark History is a work of fiction for the young adult reader in the science fiction, action, and adventure genres. Penned by author team Jed Saba and Jeff Prahl, the plot follows Ayden Ladders, an ordinary boy with extraordinary powers, and his comic book-loving best friend, Marwen Kattam. They find themselves transported to Olthamol, a hidden island nation in the Pacific Ocean, fueled by the mysterious resource Alquaa. As Ayden searches for his lost family and the origins of his abilities, they uncover a dark threat looming over the island. Together, they must navigate this strange, perilous land to save themselves, their families, and their new world. This captivating journey plunges YA readers into a richly imagined world.

Ayden and Marwen made for an endearing duo with their chalk-and-cheese dynamic, bringing opposite personalities together with some gorgeously detailed dialogue and clashes. Their adventure from a small town to the enigmatic island of Olthamol was thrilling and filled with wonder, and I adored the detailed descriptions that enhanced the atmosphere and emotional mood. The island's unique culture and technological advancements were explained well and logically grounded for the target audience. As Ayden delved into the mysteries of his lost family and his abilities, the dark threat over Olthamol kept the tension high and the plot suitably complex. The shadowy forces and the boys' quest for survival were gripping, making it hard to put the book down as the pace offered relentless twists and turns. The vivid descriptions and well-developed characters made the island of Olthamol come alive, leaving a lasting impression long after the final page that will have readers hungry for more. Overall, I’d certainly recommend The Secrets of Olthamol by Jed Saba and Jeff Prahl for YA sci-fi readers everywhere.