Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beyond the Mask: The Grassland Trilogy

Reviewed by: Shawna 
Title: Beyond the Mask: The Grassland Trilogy: Book Three
Author: David Ward
Primary Audience/age group: 13 and up
Genre: Fantasy/Christian Fantasy
# of pages 227
Publisher: Amulet Books
Year of Release: 2008
Part of a series If yes, 3 of 3 (The Grassland Trilogy)
Rating: 3 (View Scale)
Recommend? Yes but with reservations

Read the reviews of Escape the Mask (Bk 1) and Beneath the Mask (Bk 2)

Description: Pippa, Coriko and their small band of Diggers have finally escaped the clutches of the Spears. With Pippa in the lead, they go in search of a new home, a place where they can live in peace, a place Pippa remembers as a child. Safety seems just in their grasp, but the band soon discovers that Grassland is not the only place where evil lurks. Sometimes, in order to have peace you have to fight for it.

Review: Beyond the Mask continues the Grassland Trilogy with this final exciting installment. The story of Pippa and Coriko carries on with a balance of hope for the future and treachery that cannot be avoided as they meet new friends and rediscover old ones, fight new battles and end others. Christian undertones only hinted at in the first two books are now brought to light as Pippa finally puts a name to the One she has had faith in all along, God. With the addition of two new characters, churchman, the book delves deeper in their faith with many mentions of prayer and encouragement through God. With Pippa and Coriko growing in maturity and faith, this coming-of-age tale is a definite read for teens age 13 and up.

Rating: 3 for violence

Positive: Pippa is as always a positive influence on Coriko. She does not condone killing and encourages Coriko to avoid it if at all possible. The gang finds care and aid from two churchmen who insist that God is on control of the situation. There is always a remnant of hope in the books even for Coriko who is unsure about God. The ways of the Spears are changing from slave labor to sharing the wealth. Loyalty, forgiveness, faith, peace, and God’s timing are all positive aspects as well.

Spiritual Elements: God’s name is mentioned for the first time as Pippa’s beliefs in a Creator are explained. The crew befriends men of the church who help them on their quest and who also share Pippa’s faith. They offer encouragement and support to the young warriors, often praying for them and teaching them the things of God. An opposing army believes in other gods.

Violence: Raiders attack several villages, one in which Coriko and his friends are staying in. Coriko stops the raiders from burning the church with most of the villagers inside by killing two men. Thief kills a third. After this battle, Coriko shares that he is not a soldier, that he was forced into becoming one and despises the skills he has for killing. He hopes he never has to use them but realizes he will have to again.

Under the wishes of Pippa, Coriko tries his best not kill more than he has to, but many lose their lives in the final battle. There are several mentions of blood. Pippa sees the dead bodies in the courtyard after the battle.

Language: none

Sexual Content: Pippa and Coriko share an extended kiss. Their love for each other is beginning to grow now that they have some moments of rest in the new village they are staying in. They are about another year older, around the age of fourteen. Pippa and Coriko talk of getting a place of their own and starting a family once they find peace. They have made the decision to spend their lives together, but their love is still young and innocent. They share a couple more kisses in the book.

Other: There are a few mentions of ale. Coriko tastes some but doesn’t really care for it. Bran and Thief enjoy a glass of ale at a celebration, and Coriko warns them not to drink too much.

Recommendation: The violence, although not overly descriptive, may be too much for more sensitive readers. Coriko, however, does try to avoid killing if at all possible. He doesn’t want to but does so to defend others.

With the romance between Pippa and Coriko written in such a way as to maintain the characters innocence as well as the revelation of Pippa’s faith in God, Coriko’s growing faith, and other positive messages like forgiveness and hope all make this series an excellent read for teens.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Teen Lit Review Needs You!

Soon Teen Lit Review will be celebrating our fourth year of reviewing books. With our number of book reviews growing, we are in need of an upgrade to our blog design. We need help in raising money to cover the costs of the design, and all we need from you is an extra  CLICK.

TLR is partnered with Amazon to get a small percentage of the sales we generate through our site. If you are shopping at Amazon anyway for the holiday season would you mind adding us to your favorites and clicking on one of our links to enter the Amazon website?

Here's how it works:
1. Visit Teen Lit Review
2. Scroll down and click on:
  1. our Top Picks (Favorites) Amazon Widget on the sidebar
  2. one of the book title links in blue within a book review
3. Once you've clicked the link you will be taken to Amazon
4. Type in the product you are looking for in the search engine. You do not have to purchase the books we have recommended on the site.
5. If you purchase any product through Amazon from one of our links, we will get a percentage of the sales.
We appreciate all our readers. Thank you for your support. Merry Christmas from TLR!