Keeper of the Crystals 6: Eve and the Hidden Giant by Jess Black

There’s nothing like being out in the bush, thought Eve.
Eve loved hearing the bellbirds chiming and the cicadas humming. Most of all, though, she loved it when everything was silent, and all she could hear was her own breathing as we walked, the crunch of hiking books on the rough ground … and, of course, the flap of a dragon’s wings.

Eve, her friend Oliver, and her dragon Ingvar are on a bushwalk. She’s glad it’s school holidays because sometimes it’s tiring to be a Keeper of the Crystals as well as a normal 10-year-old school girl. Even so, when a mythical creature needs her, calls her, she’s more than happy to help. This time, the trio are whisked (blown) away to an island where giants live. The giant who has called Eve and her friends needs her help to bring stability back to the island where ‘creator’ and ‘rogue’ giants are fighting one another.

Eve and the Hidden Giant is the sixth in this fantastical series from New Frontier Publishing. This instalment features earthquakes and tsunamis, and warring adult giants. It’s up to the younger set, both giant and human (and with the help of a dragon) to smooth over old wounds, and forge a new peace. Trotag, a shy young giant, wants to move beyond long-held animosities and show that with some goodwill, all giants can again live in harmony. The real world bookends the fantasy, making these stories suitable for gentle souls. Recommended for newly independent readers ready for non-illustrated texts.

Keeper of the Crystals 6: Eve and the Hidden Giant, Jess Black
New Frontier Publishing 2017
ISBN: 9781925594003

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
www.clairesaxby.com

Keeper of the Crystals 5: Eve and the Griffin’s Gold by Jess Black

Eve was not good at waiting.
She stood with her nose pressed against the cold glass while balancing on tiptoe on the arm of the couch. From this height she could see all the way to the corner of Stewart Street. Eve knew that this was the way her grandmother, Sylvie, would walk from the bus stop when she arrived.

Eve and her dragon, Ingvar, are waiting for Sylvie and Oscar to arrive. Sylvie is Eve’s grandmother and Oscar her friend. They’re staying with Eve while her parents are out of town. Eve, Sylvie and Oscar have had many adventures ‘and travelled to many worlds’. Eve’s not expecting any adventure or danger this visit, but she’s always prepared. Just as well, as adventure seems to find her. This time, there’s a visit from an old enemy and a griffin who needs their help in Dracburn, where one-eyed men are stealing the lining from griffin nests. While her grandmother deals with the old enemy, Eve, Ingvar and Oscar are off on a new quest.

What young girl wouldn’t want a dragon as a companion? And the ability to help other creatures in magical worlds. Keeper of the Crystals: Eve and the Griffin’s Gold is Book 5 in this series from New Frontier Publishing. It’s at newly competent readers wanting to be whisked away on magical adventures full of jewels and wondrous creatures. Eve is a gentle champion who works with her friends to solve mysteries and rescue those in distress. She must be brave and resourceful and overcome seemingly impassable obstacles to succeed in her missions. And she does. Then arrives home in time to spend time with her grandmother. Recommended for young readers, ready for fantastical stories.

Keeper of the Crystals 5: Eve and the Griffin’s Gold, Jess Black
New Frontier Publishing 2017
ISBN: 9781925059830

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
www.clairesaxby.com

Keepers of the Crystals 2: Eve and the Fiery Phoenix by Jess Black

‘Race you!’ Eve took off down the wide footpath that led to the town centre and main beach, her long black curls bouncing madly as she ran. She could hear her friend Oscar sprinting after her. It didn’t’ take him long to catch up.

‘Face it, Eve,’ Oscar teased, ‘you’ll never beat me!’

Eve scowled as Oscar overtook her. He could be so annoying!

Even though she felt as if her chest might burst, Eve managed to stay on Oscar’s tail.

‘Race you!’ Eve took off down the wide footpath that led to the town centre and main beach, her long black curls bouncing madly as she ran. She could hear her friend Oscar sprinting after her. It didn’t’ take him long to catch up.

‘Face it, Eve,’ Oscar teased, ‘you’ll never beat me!

Eve scowled as Oscar overtook her. He could be so annoying!

Even though she felt as if her chest might burst, Eve managed to stay on Oscar’s tail.

They raced each other the four blocks from Eve’s grandmother’s house to the sleepy main street of Marigold. Oscar reached the low stone wall above the beach ahead of Eve. It’s holidays and Eve and Oscar were planning a swim. But a sudden rain shower sends them (and Eve’s grandmother Silvie) racing for shelter inside an odd shop. While they look around Eve discovers a crystal and she and Oscar are whisked off on a magical adventure. They find themselves in a jungle full of tigers and other creatures. This world is shrouded in darkness and the jungle is dying. If they ever want to return home, they have to solve the mystery of the growing darkness.

Eve and the Fiery Phoenix is a second title in a new series from New Frontier, with a third due for release late in 2015. The two main characters have quite different interests but it is in working together that they achieve success in their adventures. Eve’s story begins in the contemporary world, but they are transported to a more magical place with the help of a crystal. Their quest is important for the world they visit but imperative for them to return to their own world. Eve is a proactive hero and Oscar an able sidekick. Recommended for newly-confident readers ready for a short novel.

Keepers of the Crystals 2:Eve and the Fiery Phoenix , Jess Black
New Frontier Publishing 2015 ISBN: 9781925059441

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com