Kai Strand’s new middle grade novel, Beware of the White, is the first in her new series, The Concord Chronicles. It features Terra, a twelve year old, about to embark on a new, very exciting chapter in her life, when she is awakened in the middle of the night by an elf-like creature. Hermie is her “Introguide” and takes her to the “Underworld, a world under our own. Terra is a new Natures Spirit from the “Outerworld” come to receive her training, like her mother, Flora, before her.
This is an engaging story from the beginning. We marvel along with Terra at the many new beings she encounters, the strange modes of transportation, and the different colored sectors of the underground city. It is wonderful and captivating. All this would be exciting enough, but it is also a very dangerous place for Terra. She is named in a prophecy and is being hunted by the Trepidus or death tribe. Blanco, the ruthless leader of the Trepidus, fears Terra will thwart his plans to take over the Underworld. He sends “Bringers” after Terra -- Trepidus whose smile is fatal. Now Terra must be protected, trained, and go on a quest.
Terra doesn’t have to face this threat alone. Her protector is Frank, a Security Spirit, and she is trained by several other Underworld beings. Terra needs all the help she can get to discover her talents, finish her training, figure out the prophecy, and develop a strategy to defeat Blanco and the Trepidus, or lose the whole Underworld. Although this is a lot for a twelve year old, Terra rises to the challenge.
This is a classic story of good versus evil, coupled with a coming-of-age quest. Terra has so much to learn about herself, her powers, the new world, dealing with so many emotions, and difficult situations. Terra is special, but feels she’s not so great. She’s easy for other ‘tweens to relate to, since they are also learning about themselves and how they fit in to their own changing world. What twelve year old wouldn’t want to have special talents and powers to save the world? There are also relationships to build, coming to terms with life and death, and normal every day activities that contrast with the strange new world where Terra has the central role.
This promises to be an exciting middle grade series, with strange creatures, difficult tasks, and new ways of teaching and learning. There will be new adventures, characters, twists, and turns to entertain us. Kai Strand has created a fantasy world that offers so much that is different and yet populates it with beings that we can appreciate, relate to, and understand. I am very much looking forward to the next Concord Chronicles adventure.
Published by Muse It Up Publishing: