Dear Friends and Readers, I am delighted to participate in Worldwind’s Blog Tour for The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell. It is my pleasure and honor to introduce you to new works by emerging authors.
I have a special interest in all things Alchemy, ever since I came upon John Granger’s wondrous writings on Alchemy and Harry Potter. I have always had a special place in my heart for children’s literature, even before I had my own children. All this combined with Worldwind’s striking banners, and I knew it was a match made in heaven.
As I began reading The Missing Alchemist I was instantly pulled into the story. The first pages depict a battle with a field dragon. The medieval farmers in this magical fantasy land called upon the local Master Alchemist and his Apprentice, as you do. Perfect opening for this story.
Originally I thought I signed up for reading a middle school level story. As I read, it became apparent that the target age or reading level was more like grade 3-6. My own children are on either shade of that range, so I would put this in our family’s in-between shelf: that is, the books that my older child can read to my younger child. There is a certain magic in reading books aloud, as I’m quite certain you all know. This story would work wonderfully to read aloud.
As a writer myself, sometimes it is hard to leave the writing mentality, and just read. Author Caldric Blackwell is clearly versed in story structure. I recognized the Hero’s Journey as used by George Lucas in Star Wars and J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter. But I was able to turn off my writer’s mind and just read and enjoy the adventure story.
I thought the author did a good job of world building. The fantasy land seemed reasonably medieval and full of magic, yet refreshingly unique in its creatures. At times I wished there was more Showing and less Telling, but in a third person point of view, and the reading level/ target age group, that is to be expected. I am interested to learn more about the logic and workings of Blackwell’s magic alchemy, and hope that will be expanded upon in subsequent books.
The dialogue was funny: at times it was very proper and medieval, and at times very modern, i.e., “What’s with your staff?” It isn’t easy to blend classic fantasy language structure with contemporary language appeal. The main character, Craig, had some very matter-of-fact responses that didn’t seem natural language patterns for most of today’s typical children. That said, they were very similar to how my own young son with high-functioning Autism speaks, so I appreciate the phraseology. But I do think that is one aspect of the story that keeps it targeted to younger readers.
I am interested to rad the next story in this series, as well as Mr. Blackwell’s other writings.
The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell
Publication date: January 20, 2015
Having grown up in an orphanage, Craig Pike appreciates his comfortable life as a student of Cornelius, a famous alchemist. But when Cornelius is kidnapped, Craig leaves comfort behind to search for him. Craig teams up with Audrey Clife, a clever archer, and together they travel across mysterious lands and battle otherworldly creatures. Their journey reveals that Cornelius’s kidnapping is only a small part of an evil alchemist’s elaborate grab for power, and the only people standing in his way are Craig and Audrey…
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Caldric Blackwell realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten.
Exposure to a host of great authors while studying at the University of California, Santa Barbara inspired him to begin writing fiction. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he eventually migrated to writing children’s books. His debut work is an early chapter book titled The Enchanted River Race. His next release is a picture book, The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf.
Outside of writing, Caldric enjoys hiking, gardening, and playing a variety of string instruments. Caldric currently resides in California.
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