One of the most enjoyable parts of reading, for me, is being able to escape the stresses of the real world and dive into a fantasy adventure. My most recent read was one that did the trick! The Verdigris Pawn takes place in another land that, while not perfect, is an enjoyable examination of what could be.
This is the story of 13-year-old Beau, heir to the throne in his kingdom, but largely disconnected from what is happening outside his chambers. When the truth begins to be revealed—to Beau and the reader simultaneously—he becomes impassioned and emboldened to make positive changes in the lives of his people. But doing so is not easy, and it is only with the help of new friends that he even stands a chance at success. Please see my full review here.
I was hooked into this book from the very beginning, wrapped into the writing and the storytelling at once. One of the most engaging pieces of this story is the introduction of a game called Fist. A strategy game similar to chess, it has been outlawed because of its connections to overthrowing the ruler, known as Himself. Throughout the story, parallels are drawn between the characters and the game pieces; though the complete game play is only alluded to, enough information is provided to understand the general premise. I loved figuring out which character corresponded to each piece; it is a fabulous puzzle that propels the narrative.
With echoes of The Prince and the Pauper set against the backbone of a strategy game, The Verdigris Pawn is a well-crafted story for confident middle grade readers. I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages!
Do you know another great story I should feature in my blog? Please contact me here and let me know!