If you enjoyed the Harry Potter series of books, then you will certainly enjoy James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra (first of a series of books). There are many similarities: an eleven year old orphan boy, his two friends – one boy and one girl, introduction of an ‘other world’ where James was born and must return to fight the forces of evil. Differences: James’ friends are siblings, exchange a magic wand for a green diamond, the enemy is female instead of male, there are no exotic beasties (at least not in this book).
When James and his friends leave their foster home to spend the Christmas holidays with Grandfather Wilmore Clyde, they run into strange circumstances that lead them to the world of Orchestra. There are villains aplenty in both worlds and the children must use their brains to outwit them. Of course we have the skeptic, Ben, who questions James’s every move and Mary, the naive young girl who seems to adore James. The action is fast-paced and hardly does one episode end before another begins. The world of Orchestra and its inhabitants – the Orchins – are intriguing and there seems to be much more to uncover than this single book offers. We’ve literally just scratched the surface of this alternate reality. One huge difference between the two series lies in the fact that once the children get to Orchestra, there is little interaction with our world. The obligatory large battle scene is well orchestrated (pun intended) and proves to James just how much more he has to learn about his heritage. The ending sets up the reader for the next story.
As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I truly enjoyed this book. I was instantly enamored with the three children – James, Ben, and Mary – as they are totally grounded in reality until their first big adventure. And of course, I’d never heard of a green diamond that gave the bearer special powers.
A terrific story to be read by anyone from grade school to grandparent. Adventure, childlike wonder, ghosties and goblins, swords, and the ability to fly are great things. Don’t miss this one!
Note: The author provided me with a copy of this book for a fair and honest review.
Rating: M M M M