Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
WhipEye is the first book of the WhipEye Chronicles by Geoffrey Saign. On the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death, twelve-year-old Samantha makes her way to the Endless Pet Store in Minnesota to talk to her favorite parrot, Charlie. After receiving menacing looks from the store manager, Magnar, Samantha finds a way to sneak in to see the bird, but is shocked when Charlie starts having an intellectual conversation with her, demanding that she break him out of the pet store immediately, lest he die at Magnar’s hands. After Charlie’s release, both he and Samantha escape, with Magnar giving chase at a supernatural pace while threatening to kill her. Magnar is stopped by Rose, a newcomer in town, who possesses a magical staff called WhipEye. After being warned by Rose never to touch the alluring staff, Samantha runs home. On her arrival, Samantha and her eleven-year-old neighbor, Jake, become privy to an incredibly dark secret regarding Magnar, Methuselah creatures, and a secret, magical world where Rose, Charlie, and both children are forced to flee Magnar’s evil wrath. When tragedy strikes, ownership of the staff is transferred. Time is not on her side as Samantha, with the help of the WhipEye and her dedicated sidekick, Jake, needs to find a way to defeat Magnar, destroy the golden rings, and release the Methuselahs entombed within – a task far easier said than done, especially for a twelve-year-old. With luck, Samantha will survive long enough to celebrate her twelfth birthday before the day ends.
From the very start, Geoffrey Saign’s well-written adventure had me hooked on every word. With a vast cocktail of emotions spread throughout, WhipEye was well-balanced with humor, action, adventure, tragedy and drama, forcing the lead character to lower the walls she had built since her mother had died, while also learning to believe in herself again. A brief moment of Samantha’s father snapping out of his melancholia in order to protect his daughter was a refreshing surprise, especially after he had barely interacted with her for so very long. While the story was quite busy, each scene blended seamlessly into the next, creating the perfect recipe for any great children’s book. All of the characters were fully explained, enabling younger readers to keep up at all times. I very much enjoyed WhipEye, which is easily one of the most imaginative tales I have read in a very long time. I recommend it to all readers who enjoy the theme of good versus evil in a majestically magical battle which trumps any fantasy tale I have ever read.