Review of Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit and The Return of General Drake by Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Yay, I was finally able to write quick reviews for the first two books of the children’s fantasy and adventure series by author Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows! Check out my thoughts on the books and enter the blog tour giveaway at the end of this post. :)

Alexander Drake’s Extraordinary Pursuit 

Meet Alexander Drake, a curious young man living in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father. He spent his days playing alone. In the back of his mind he wondered what happened to his mother, and why his father was tight-lipped about the past; but secrets have a way of getting out.It all started with a stay at his grandmother’s cottage. Alexander found strange clues tucked away in his father’s old bedroom. With a mysterious key and several maps in his pack he set off on an innocent search for answers about his family.When he discovered a secret passageway the search took a dramatic turn. He suddenly worried about what was searching for him. Alexander was being hunted by a sorcerer from his father’s past. Answers lead to more questions and the journey of his life.Join Alexander for a thrilling adventure in Azra’s Pith, a place of beauty and magic… but beware—something evil lurks in the shadows.

My thoughts on the book

This book is such a fun and exciting read. Alexander Drake is an 11-year-old boy who feels that he doesn’t quite belong anywhere. He feels different from all the other kids and his mind is always elsewhere. He is always wondering and dreaming about his mother and gets frustrated that his father never tells him anything. He finds out just how different he is when his dad takes him to visit his grandmother. While exploring the forest around his grandmother’s house, Alexander meets a talking frog named Ferdinand who takes him across a magical passageway into a world called Azra’s Pith. This is where Alexander’s extraordinary and dangerous journey into discovering truths about himself and his family’s history starts.

The book is very easy to read and the pace flows easily and quickly. The characters are very likable and have very interesting and quirky personalities, especially Ferdinand and Libera, one of the talking creatures that Alexander meets on his adventure. For me the story has a complex nature to it, but the author is able to simplify it into terms that young readers can follow easily and understand. The story focuses more on Alexander’s journey and the descriptions about Azra’s Pith and its inhabitants aren’t as visual or detailed as I would have liked, but there are enough bits and pieces to help me form a picture of how different and magical Azra’s Pith is.

The books ends when the first part of Alexander’s journey ends, but his adventures are definitely not finished and the last part of the book is a cliffhanger and it makes you want to find out what happens next.

I think the series would be great for young kids who like adventure and fantasy. And if you’re an adult who likes reading light fantasy and adventure novels sometimes, you might enjoy this book, too.

The Return of General Drake 

When Alexander arrived in Verhonia, something went terribly wrong. A dark spell delivered from the mountains of Acadia sent him on a dangerous journey in the middle of the night. As he marched into the mountains, the great city of Verhonia was ambushed and burned to the ground by Roman’s army of vicious giant murks.

With the safety of the realm in jeopardy, General John William Drake was asked to come back to Azra’s Pith. He swore he would never return. But after discovering his son was under a spell and in the grips of a dark sorcerer, he had no choice.

Things take a wild turn in the mountains, with runaways, a hungry wolf and a mysterious, young empyrean wizard thrown into the adventure. A tight race against time and evil is in full swing. With faith and a little magic, they just might come out on top.

My thoughts on the book

The second book in the Azra’s Pith series is an even faster and more exciting read than the first one. I think it’s shorter than the first book, but there are more things happening in this one than in the previous book.

The Return of General Drake picks up exactly where book one left off and it’s a really fast ride from there.  There are new and interesting characters that appear and a few questions that pop up in the middle of the story and are not really answered when the book ends. Hopefully the third book will reveal more about everything.

I think the last part is a little rushed, but it doesn’t really bother me. More often than not, I like leaving and accepting things as they are and just enjoy the reading experience, but I’m not sure about other readers. I’m fine about the way the story flows.

If you read the first book and enjoyed it, you are most likely going to want to read this one and enjoy it, too.

Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the tour. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Author Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows 

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat. Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose. — Website * Twitter * Facebook

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