Beast Quest – Ossiron The Fleshless Killer by Adam Blade

The Blurb On The Back:

The Evil Wizard Malvel has banished four young adventurers to the mysterious Netherworld!  Now the most dangerous Quest yet begins.  Can anyone defeat Ossiron, a monstrous skeleton jackal?

Free the beasts

Live the adventure

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order BEAST QUEST – OSSIRON THE FLESHLESS KILLER by Adam Blade from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Tom and Elenna are in Pania, the capital of Tangala.  Queen Aroha has asked her nephew, Prime Rotu to find two new Masters or Mistresses of the Beasts after a number of Beast attacks within the kingdom.  Tom and Elenna have helped to select candidates and today is the day of the Trials where the new champions will be selected.  

The first Trial is about to begin for axe wielding Katya (a tall girl from the Forest of Shadows), scythe bearing Nolan of Aran, Miandra from the western shore (who wields a trident and net) and the quiet Rafe (a blacksmith who bears a hammer) when a Janus bird suddenly appears at the same time as an earthquake opens up a chasm beneath the contestants and swallows them up!  

Tom, Elenna, Rotu and the wizard Daltec learn that the 4 candidates have been taken by the Evil Wizard Malvel, who survived his fall into the Netherworld.  Malvel will only release the candidates if Tom hands over the purple jewel but Tom knows that doing so will enable Malvel to escape the Netherworld and control the Beasts.  Instead, Tom and Elenna resolve to find their own way into the Netherworld to free the candidates, but nothing can prepare them for the Beasts that they will discover there …

The first book in the 28th series of the BEAST QUEST illustrated adventure fantasy books by Adam Blade (a pseudonym for a collection of writers) for readers aged 7+ is hampered by a lot of set-up, which is quite heavy handed to the point that the new potential Beast masters get lost as a result.  The action scenes are solidly done and it hits the beats you expect but you probably get more from this if you’ve read the preceding books.

I picked this up because BEAST QUEST is another of those behemoth series for younger readers, which is very popular, especially with boys as it’s full of action, but I had never had a chance to read one before.  However, given that this is the 28th series in the books, an awful lot has happened to get to this point and this book does presuppose that the reader is familiar with Tom and Elenna’s history with Malvel and how Tom’s various magical items were obtained and work.  There was enough set out in the book for me to be able to follow the events in the story and understand some of the background, but I didn’t get all of it and I definitely think that to get the most from this you do need to have read the previous books.

This book is the first in a new 4-book series, which will presumably see each book revolve around Tom and Elenna trying to get a candidate back from the Netherworld.  This book has an awful lot of set-up to explain the premise and get Tom and Elenna to the Netherworld, which does affect the pace as it means the rescue element and encounter with Ossiron is crammed into the final third.  There are aspects that I enjoyed – particularly the map that’s been possessed by the wizard Zarlo, who offers some comic relief with his observations on the quest and the Beasts they encounter.  However, Ossiron was a bit of a damp squib for me and poor Nolan gets very little page time and is little more than a name on the page.  The action scenes are punchy (as you would expect) but it’s Tom who does most of the fighting and he’s stuck with some lines that I found a bit cheesy, although younger readers may well be thrilled.

The illustrations are a bit basic and I didn’t really get much of a sense of character or danger from them.

Ultimately, it isn’t that this is a bad book – if you have a younger reader who’s already familiar with the other books, then they will probably enjoy this a great deal.  Certainly it’s not a bad way of getting younger readers into fantasy fiction or more complicated story telling.  However, there wasn’t enough here to really keep me interested and although I would read the sequel, I can’t say that there’s enough here to make me want to go back to the beginning and read all the preceding books.  

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