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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Zack's Tale by Hermione Lee is a prequel companion novel from the Otherworld Trilogy series. Zachary Valentino has had enough of Alta, the Queen of the Underworld, and her tyrannical ambitions. After his beloved grandmother passes away, Zack decides to start anew in the Otherworld and begins his training to be an Elder. Soon, he finds himself under the tutelage of Representative Elder Helen Edmunds, who sees much potential in him. But not everyone is as welcoming of Zack, and he is constantly harassed and bullied by his fellow trainees and even other Elders. Meanwhile, Zack develops deep feelings for Helen. When the rulers send Helen and Zack on a rescue mission to the Underworld, Helen returns severely injured. But the danger is far from over, and Zack must do everything he can to save Helen's life.
This is the second book I've read from this series so far, and I'm in awe of Hermione Lee's ability to tell enthralling fantasy tales with multi-dimensional characters. Zack's Tale is a brilliant entry to the Otherworld Trilogy series, and it expands the universe with an absorbing backstory of one of the key characters in the entire series. Lee's narrative flies by like a gentle breeze, further complemented by a plot that springs a surprising twist toward the end. Zack and Helen's relationship is the primary focus and acts as the anchor around which the plot revolves. I couldn't help but wish for Zack to reveal his inner feelings to Helen. Overall, this is yet another five-star book by Hermione Lee. To all you fantasy readers, definitely grab a copy!