2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 260 books.

Book Review: Joshua of Gaia

Holy cow – Tuesday again, seriously?? I’ve been doing so well with *real* writing lately that I haven’t been finding myself with “force yourself to write today, Jill-Elizabeth” time, so I haven’t been booking blog posts in advance. As a result, I keep scrambling to find new topics and get my thrice-weekly posts written. Fortunately, on the Book Review Tuesday post front, I have a handful of books that authors have asked me to review that I have finished, so for Tuesdays, at least, it’s just a matter of sitting down and putting pen (keyboard) to paper (screen) to translate the thoughts in my head into words you can read.

Today’s book, Joshua of Gaia, was generously provided by the author, M.G. Russell.

Joshua of Gaia is a young adult/middle-grade fantasy about a young boy – the eponymous Joshua – who has no last name of his own because he is an orphan. But not just any old orphan – oh no. Joshua is a clever, resourceful orphan – and too smart for his own good by half, at times. Despite the fact that life in the orphanage is no bowl of cherries – bullies abound and there is, of course, the de rigeur mean orphanage manager lady – Joshua feels compelled to do what he can to stay there, including putting off prospective parents. See, not only is he clever, resourceful, and too smart for his own good by half, he’s also sweet and considerate and protective of the other, smaller children. He is, in fact, an overall good egg.

So of course he finds himself tormented by the orphanage’s plethora of overall bad eggs.

While suffering a rather unjust punishment after a run-in with one of said overall bad eggs (perhaps the baddest), Joshua finds himself thrust into the middle of a rather extraordinary set of circumstances – he is pulled out of the this world (literally) and into another: Elderworld. Elderworld needs help, and Joshua has been pulled there by the residents of Eldertown in order to provide that help. Once in Eldertown, he finds himself a quest, a set of friends, and a series of helpful strangers – strangers who all seem to know things that Joshua doesn’t about the path he has found himself on.

Joshua’s travels through Elderworld – and the drama, treachery, and adventure that those travels entail – are entertaining. A lot of similar, underprivileged-boy-finds-himself-as-savior-of-world-he-didn’t-know-existed, stories exist, so it’s hard to find entirely new spins to put on those plot lines. Russell does a nice job of adding in new, original world-details and some clever constructs though, as a way of distinguishing her book and her characters. The story is nicely sprinkled with lessons (you can’t trust everybody, sometimes the good guy does finish last, hard work and perseverance will win out eventually) and come-uppance does come for the baddies at least some of the time (if it came all the time, that would defeat the lessons, now wouldn’t it?).

All in all, this is a nice addition to the middle-grade book world, and one you can feel comfortable recommending to your kids. This is the first in a proposed series, as I understand it (not surprising, given how the book ends). As long as she continues trying to add her own flavor to the genre, the books should do well.

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