Review: The Adventurer's Guilde to Successful Escapes
Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Adventurer's Guide to Successful EscapesThe Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I liked this book much better than its sequel (which I read first). While the story was still a little "pull the main character along," there were a lot more plot twists and character development.

The main character is named Anvil, and she is joined by her friend Penelope from page one as they attempt to escape the orphanage where Anvil is being held prisoner. After a fortunate turn of events that sees them away from the orphanage, the two girls are joined by a boy named Hiro, and together they set off on a whirlwind adventure.

Anvil seems to be searching for her origins. She has no idea who her family might have been or where she came from. Thoughtful and introspective, finding clues about her past is a major driving force in her motivations. Penelope, on the other hand, knows exactly who her parents were. She's determined to climb out from under the shadow of their poor reputation, and she plans to do it by hitting everything that comes into range. Hiro is a bit of a mystery, and for good reason. He's just trying to stay under the radar as he learns to control his wacky magic, but his extensive knowledge and freakishly good memory make him a valuable ally. Together the three make a well-rounded, if poorly prepared, adventuring party.

The world-building in this story is wonderful. At some point in the world's past, the planet was shattered into chunks of land called tiers. Traveling between these tiers takes serious work, and poses one of the major challenges and unique aspects of the book. Most often the kids end up traveling by dragon fireball, though ancient portals also make an appearance. Each tier has distinct characteristics and inhabitants. For example, one tier is a desert which the kids cross on a sled pulled by sand wolves.

This book has a lighthearted tone of voice that is common among middle grade fiction. Dialogue often takes the form of joking banter. All the adults and most of the rules of their society are ridiculous. All in all this was a highly entertaining read.

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