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The Lost Queen (The Empyrical Tales Book II) Review by April Elstrom

By Mark Miller
Comfort Publishing LLC
296 Church Street North
Concord, NC 28025

Through mysterious woods filled with dwarves, elves, and wood spirits, Zandria must journey to save her mother from a crystal prison. Alone with only her horse Tihi, Zandria is sent on the dangerous mission by her sister, Queen Olena. Can Zandria free her mother and discover who is behind her mother's disappearance? Will she know whom she can trust along the way?

The Lost Queen is the second book in The Empyrical Tales fantasy series, written by Mark Miller. Mr. Miller focuses on writing stories with strong, positive female characters for his daughters. This paperback book is 194 pages long and is written for girls in the 9-13 age range, but it would appeal to the whole family as a read-aloud. This is not specifically a Christian book, but it is a family-friendly series.

I'm not a fan of the fantasy genre anymore, though I did enjoy it when I was younger. I struggled to really get into the story of The Lost Queen, as it seemed to move slowly at first. There were so many characters and references to previous events that I was often confused, since I had not read the first book in the series. Eventually, I did find myself assimilated into the story and hoping for Zandria to succeed.

Despite my initial unenthusiastic reaction to the book, my 11-year-old daughter enjoyed reading it. She was drawn into the story much more quickly than I was and devoured it with her usual passion. Unlike many serial books, The Lost Queen has a satisfying conclusion, without cliffhangers and unanswered questions. It doesn't leave you wondering what happens in a future book, but I definitely believe the story would make more sense to someone who had already read the first book.

As with other fantasy books, some families will object to the references to magic, crystals, dragons, dwarves, elves, talking horses, and unicorns. This is a classic good vs. evil story, and the two are clearly differentiated. There is no cursing or inappropriate material in the book. The violence and fighting is not gruesome, and the tiny bit of romance is age-appropriate and clean.

Though The Lost Queen didn't appeal to my own style preferences, it is a good book for preteen girls who enjoy the fantasy genre. The characters are appealing, and the story is uplifting. My daughter would enjoy reading the rest of The Empyrical Tales series.

Product review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011