'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 21 October 2011

Guest Review: The Mystery of Nida Valley

KBR welcomes author Michael Gerard Bauer with this guest review on a book that travels deeply into a mysterious past.

I first read The Mystery of Nida Valley as a manuscript and then again recently in its final form. It is truly a story that has everything. In it, we find time travel, dinosaurs, mythical creatures, Megafauna from Australia’s past, magic, ghosts, good guys and villains, all wrapped up in a fast-paced action-adventure story with a dash of romance to boot!

What young reader isn’t going to find something to love here?

But it’s one thing to fill a story with many amazing things and creatures. The real trick is to draw the reader in and make it all believable, engaging, and exciting. Elaine has done just that.

The story is set in the lush rainforests of Queensland, where a secret group who call themselves The Guardians have protected the magical and hidden valley of Nida and its strange wildlife for generations. It is a world that we want to explore and in which imaginations can run wild. The secret valley with its exotic fauna and flora has a character all of its own.

One truly unique feature of The Mystery of Nida Valley is the inclusion of Australia’s ancient Megafauna. I don’t know of any story that has incorporated these amazing creatures before. It’s wonderful to think that while being thrilled and entertained by a story, young readers will also be finding out about the unique animals that once roamed our continent. Animals such as giant echidnas and giant wombats, carnivorous kangaroos and marsupial lions, to name but a few.

Into this amazing world is thrust a group of ordinary teenagers led by the likeable and feisty Meg Sealy. They discover to their surprise and delight that they are the next generation of Guardians and that it is their destiny to protect the wonders of Nida Valley from those who would exploit and destroy it for their own greed. And so, the battle lines are drawn for a series of intriguing and gripping adventures.

As well as the main character of Meg, Elaine has created a varied bunch of appealing and believable companions who must not only struggle with the everyday challenges of normal teenagers such as growing up, relationships and working out what is right and wrong, but also with the extra challenges of their new found roles and responsibilities.

Things like: how to ride a pterosauradon, how to avoid getting eaten or crushed to death by megafauna, how to handle their own newly acquired magical powers and talents, and how to live up to their important positions as protectors of a fragile and precious valley and the wondrous treasures it holds.

The Mystery of Nida Valley is a cleverly written adventure fantasy tale that I’m sure will entertain, inform and delight younger readers and leave them eager and impatient for the next instalment.

You can travel to the mysterious and magical world of the Nida Valley via the book's website.

Title: The Mystery of Nida Valley
Author: Elaine Ouston
Publisher: Publiscious, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780987061270
For ages: 9 - 14
Type: Junior Fiction