The Sinister Sorcerer

The Comet Kid Chronicles #3

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
331 Pages
Reviewed on 06/24/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grace Masso for Readers' Favorite

The Sinister Sorcerer is the third book in The Comet Kid Chronicles by Tom Hoffman and continues the spellbinding science fiction and fantasy adventure of Max and his companions. Strange encounters: in ancient Rome, an eccentric woman tells Grace she must find the scepter of Janus, the god of beginnings, transitions, and endings, while Clara Voyant, an eleven-year-old psychic, reveals to Max that she is having troubles with ghosts. But the warning from an old actor who claims to have lived in many worlds is startling. According to him, an alien horobotite is invading the Earth — a genetically altered mutating bacterium that grows and evolves at a staggering rate, absorbing massive amounts of subatomic energy from the surrounding elements. To stop this invasion, the Comet Kids must find the elusive scepter of Janus and face unimaginable danger, including Erebus, dangerous serpents, zombies, and more.

I have been hugely entertained by Tom Hoffman’s characters, kids who are just fun in the way they talk, act, and in their bravery. But they are also super-gifted and intelligent characters exploring worlds filled with mystery, danger, and surprises. The Sinister Sorcerer is well-plotted and it introduces Naomi Simone, the character also known as Clara Voyant, a great addition to the hilarious bunch. The writing is superb and the plot imaginative and twisty. The author creates a powerful threat to the world and it is interesting to follow the characters in the race to solve a riddle and stop the encroaching danger. This story features exceptional world-building, fun and fun-loving characters, and an adventure that reads like a blockbuster movie. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

K.C. Finn

The Sinister Sorcerer is a work of fiction in the fantasy and science fiction adventure sub-genres and was penned by author Tom Hoffman. The work is intended for the children’s reading audience and is the third novel set in the Comet Kid Chronicles series. Following on from the events of The Unfocused Man, we find Max, Grace, and Sophie in a whole new adventure as they discover a quest for the lost Scepter of Janus, one which will send them to terrifying new locales and facing dangerous monsters but also meeting more amazing friends along the way. What results is a highly engrossing middle-grade adventure that is sure to keep young readers turning the pages from cover to cover.

It is always wonderful to see a children’s author who really understands children, and Tom Hoffman has crafted a very relatable, exciting, and enjoyable work of MG fiction with plenty of humor, terror, and everything in between to offer its young readers. Ideal as a group or family read and engaging for a solo adventurer who wants to get lost in a whole new world, this is a novel that delivers on every count for content, character, story, and imagery. I found the dialogue to be particularly charming and helpful in explaining the plot, whilst also showcasing a stunning array of larger-than-life characters who populate Erebus with their wit, wonder, and terror. Overall, I would highly recommend The Sinister Sorcerer to fans of spectacular fantasy worldbuilding, accessible and exciting children’s fiction, and for middle-grade readers everywhere.

Joel R. Dennstedt

They’rrrrrrrrre back! The Comet Kids, Max and Grace Underwood, two siblings with special powers derived from the passage of colored comets at the time of their births (blue and green,) saviors of multiple worlds, but often just as annoying to each other as Lucy and Charlie Brown, return in Tom Hoffman’s third installment of his series, The Comet Kid Chronicles – The Sinister Sorcerer. They are accompanied by a previously introduced member of this exclusive club, Sophie Saltzman, born under a yellow comet, able to create wormholes for instant translocation, now joined by another previously introduced but misnomered friend, Clara Voyant, Super Psychic Extraordinaire, more accurately identified here as Naomi Simone, she of the purple comet, able to physically manifest ghostly helpers and useful artifacts at will. Quite a run-on introduction, don’t you think? Yes, but I am simply suggesting the unrelenting momentum with which Tom Hoffman infuses his adventurous tales.

In this episode of your favorite superstars (get it?) the gang of four, used to finding their way to hyper-distant, hyper-dimensional, hyper-alien planets, tasked by some transcendent universal guardians to “save their worlds,” this time find themselves transporting back to Ancient Rome in search of a scepter to reunite (spoiler alert) two of those universal guardians. Quite a plotline, don’t you think? Yes, but that is really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Or skimming the surface of one incredible imagination where Tom Hoffman continues his always wise and always humorous depictions of four very typical, if quite abnormal (in a good way) young and delightful heroes.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Siblings Grace and Max and their friend, Sophie, are back to their adventures through time and space, presumably to save the world from an alien invasion. The horobotites are threatening Earth and only the three Comet Kids can help along with, of course, their new friend, Naomi. Ghost time jumping and wormholes through space lead the foursome on some thrilling and sometimes frightening adventures, confronting all manner of creatures from zombies and serpents to white flies and robots. Whom can they trust, other than themselves? And, they have a quest to fulfill, to find a lost scepter, all before it’s too late. Just another day of adventure, murder, mayhem, mystery and so much more.

Tom Hoffman’s middle-grade novel, The Sinister Sorcerer, is the third book in The Comet Kid Chronicles. The book is easy to pick up without reading the previous books in the series, though it might inspire the reader to want to read the first two books. The author provides enough background, interwoven carefully into the story from the early books to keep the reader engaged and clearly following the adventure. An epic quest and adventure-laced plot make this an excellent cross between Narnia and Harry Potter. With magic and time traveling, wormholes and journeys through space, robots, zombies and so much more, this book has everything a good fantasy needs to draw in the young reader and keep them hooked from beginning to end. The characters are well developed, using typical sibling teasing and clever, fun dialogue between friends to make them both appealing and entertaining, as well as realistic. Dialogue is well used and will certainly connect with young readers. The plot is action-driven with lots of imaginative interludes. A great read for fantasy lovers of all ages.

Liz Konkel

The Sinister Sorcerer by Tom Hoffman is the third book in The Comet Kid Chronicles. When Grace takes a trip that takes her back to ancient Rome, she gets a mission from a mysterious woman that sends her after a scepter. When her brother Max questions if she truly went to Rome, she's determined to prove the truth. Meanwhile, Clara Voyant comes to Max when she has a ghost situation, and this is just the tip of the iceberg for the Comet Kids' problems. A reclusive actor tells them about an impending alien invasion from the horobotites, which causes the Comet Kids to rally together (with a new Comet Kid addition) to fight back. The kids take a journey to Erebus where they encounter zombies, serpents, and flies in their search for a mysterious scepter that could be the answer they need to stop the aliens from invading earth.

Tom Hoffman delivers another fascinating installment in this epic adventure that weaves ghosts, time travel, history, and science fiction. Hoffman's story will spark the imaginations of children by sending them on an adventure that takes them through time and to another world. The various kids have their own stories woven throughout their adventure with Grace, Sophie, Max, Naomi, and Clara facing their own obstacles. Grace is driven by her desire to prove that she truly went back in time to ancient Rome with her ability to ghost jump while her brother is at the center of all the happenings within the story. Clara Voyant (pun for clairvoyant) is having ghost troubles which is what draws her to Max for help as her ability to see ghosts is woven into the larger plot of them going to the world of Erebus.

The story also weaves in a new Comet Kid that joins in on the responsibility that comes with having great abilities. Their abilities to travel through time, see ghosts, and journey to other worlds are key to what it will take to save the planet from an alien invasion. The dangers themselves are a fun science fiction mashup with time travel and horror tropes with an assortment of zombies, white flies, serpents, and robotic beings creating obstacles. The kids encounter a variety of creatures such as pterodactyls and pterosaurs, the alien race called horobotites, and white flies. This assortment of creatures sets the tone for the adventure and drives the action forward. The Comet Kids are back in The Sinister Sorcerer with an all-new adventure that will sweep you away onto another journey where the kids encounter a variety of new dangers in their quest for a scepter.