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

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Review: The Adventures of Crimson and the Guardian

When I was a child, I often fantasised about being chosen for a quest — for destiny to come knocking and have something epic to say. For kids who can relate, The Adventures of Crimson and the Guardian will take you on that epic quest.

Kinsey is an orphaned servant girl. She works in a castle kitchen, and while her employer treats her well, Kinsey knows she was meant to do more with her life.

Walking in the forest to visit her sister, Kinsey finds a magical cloak. A unicorn emerges from the trees, and Kinsey’s life changes forever.

There is trouble in the kingdom, and Crimson the unicorn needs Kinsey to help fight it. Reluctant and unprepared, Kinsey isn’t ready to be a hero. But as evil closes in and threatens the people she cares about, Kinsey is faced with a choice: run from her destiny, or face it head on.

The Adventures of Crimson and the Guardian is an epic adventure filled with unicorns, dwarfs, elves, shadow-bloods and many more magical and fantastical creatures. Some of these I was familiar with, but others I had never heard of (and I suspect are Cossey’s own creation). I love this about the book. It pushes fantasy outside the box and delivers fresh content full of imagination. 

I also really liked and related to Kinsey as a character. She has great inner strength and a strong desire to do the right thing. But like everyone, she has doubts about her abilities and must dig deep to be brave when danger looms. 

As she journeys with Crimson the unicorn, Kinsey’s confidence grows. She stands up for what she believes in, and she finds her own path to victory. I love this message for kids. Sometimes things are hard, and sometimes we want more than anything to run away and hide. But believing in yourself, standing up and saying ‘I won’t run,’ can lead to the most amazing adventures.

Without illustrations, I’d put The Adventures of Crimson and the Guardian at the older end of junior fiction or younger end of middle grade. It’s an easy read, so it’s a good choice for chapter book kids ready for their next reading challenge.

Filled with magic, fantasy and action-adventure that never stops, this is one for the kids ready to say yes to the quest.

Title: The Adventures of Crimson and the Guardian
Author: Karen Cossey
Publisher: Stolen Moments, $14.97
Publication Date: April 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780473381196
For ages: 7 - 10
Type: Junior Fiction, Middle Grade