Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Review: "Alvor" by Laura Bingham

"Adarae jolted as the feeling surged through her. She looked carefully at not one, but two little faces, and felt the warm power within them. No one suspected it could be two, but the strength pulsing from them was undeniable. They stared back into her eyes."

Alvor is a spellbinding blend of magic and mystery, enchantment and fairy tale, that asks the age old question: do you believe in magic?

Fifteen year old Erin and her twin brother, Bain, had never seen the secluded cabin in the woods by their home. Upon entering, they discover a magical world haunted by pegasi, dragons, and fairies.

The siblings soon discover they possess extraordinary powers. As they are taught the art of magic and swordplay by mystical beings, it isn't long before they are struck with a realization- they are training to become elves.

Faced with the decision to leave the lives they have always known for a new, fantastic world, Erin and Bain confront blackhearted demons that threaten their existence in both worlds.


Ok, first of all I will tell you that I have had the honor of speaking to Laura and as you will find out in the interview I will post after this, she is not only a fantastic author, but a wonderful person as well.

Alvor was one of those books that I simply could not put down. Twice I fell asleep in the wee hours of the night to wake with the book in my hands just a few short hours later when it was time to go to work. It is one of those books that EVERY SINGLE PAGE makes you terribly anxious to just turn to the next. Bottom line, awesome book. This is why I was so thankful to Laura for providing me with a signed copy to give away, which will also be posted here tonight as a contest.

Erin and Bain lost their parents when they were young and live with their grandpa Jessie. Summer time comes around and they wander off into the woods while hiking and exploring. With grandpa Jessie's work schedule, the twins are often on their own, mostly keeping side by side. They discover a cabin in the woods that once they enter, turns out to be no ordinary cabin. No, instead it is FULL of magical powers, places, and beings, including little fairies who appear to be beautiful, brilliantly colored butterflies.

After entering the house, discovering they can see fairies, and meeting their fairy god mother, the twins encounter a big book called "The Book of Knowledge" while wandering the unusually long halls in the basement of the cottage. This book guides them through several "training" exercises which they ultimately find out is to train to become elves. (the training sessions were my FAVORITE part of the book). As the training goes on, they are given many magical powers such as super fast speed and super enhanced senses to name a few. They are trained by different elves who are specialists in these different areas. Through the training they receive gifts from their trainers, 2 of my favorite being the eternal blade, probably the coolest sword you could imagine, and a brooch, which can be changed into anything you wish it to. (I even told Laura that I would do anything for one of those brooches and thought it was the coolest thing i've ever heard of)

As well, inside the cottage they are led through a world, where they meet new friends like Pulsar, a dragon who Erin meets when he is young and as he grows up, basically becomes Erin's best friend. How Laura develops this friendship is amazing. The two even spend quite a bit of time alone in the forest where Pulsar helps Erin gain self confidence and sharpen her skills, as well as provide a shoulder for her to lean on and the sort of protection a pitbull provides it's owner. There is also Joel, a young boy who takes a particular liking to Erin and plays an intricate role since their first encounter. Also there is Carbonell, an elf, who befriends Bain outside in the real world and their relationship continues into the magical world. Carbonell appears to be very interested in helping Bain with his new found powers. But why??

Once their training is concluded and they are now full fledge elves (pointy ears and all), Bain suddenly disappears from Erin, leaving only a note and an empty room behind. After blaming herself for his disappearance, Erin gets a feeling that something is not "kosher" and sets out to find her brother with the help of her friends. In the mean time, Bain is missing Erin terribly. He appears to be very ill and is being taken care of by his good friend Carbonell somewhere far away and safe where he can not infect anyone with his sickness.

Is Carbonell really taking care of his good friend who is sick? Is Erin really the reason that Bain just picked up and left with no real explanation? If I told you that, it wouldn't make the end of the book as exciting as it is.

Wonderful character development, a well defined story line, and a fantastic ability to suck you in and make you wish you were an elf. Laura has hit a home run with her first novel. As James Dashner, popular YA fantasy author said, "Alvor will leave you with a sense of wonder and make you think a long time after you've finished it. An excellent book." I couldn't agree more. Laura leaves such a wide door open at the end of this book, that I found myself wanting to see so many different things happen in her second book of the Alvor series, which she is currently writing. I will definitely pre order that one LONG before it hits the shelves!

Check out the interview I was fortunate enough to get with Laura as well as our first contest for a signed copy of "Alvor" that Laura has provided me with.

If you are a fan of magical places and mystical characters, awesome powers and cool as heck magical accessories, I would run, not walk, but run (well, I guess you could drive I suppose, but drive fast) to your local bookstore and buy ALVOR. If you don't feel like taking a trip, I have a link at the bottom of my site to Barnes and Noble online, where I believe the book is actually cheaper than in the store. Either way, a MUST READ for any age.

Don't forget to enter to win a signed copy of ALVOR!



  1. I'm a follower...does that mean I'm entered? I feel like you've already told me this, but I don't remember.

  2. Hi Anna!
    I am going to post the interview with Laura, and then the contest. I am working on it now. Also, there is going to be a contest held right around the same time for an ARC I have of "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner. I will probably only get through Laura's tonight as I am exhausted and its around midnight here. So Maze Runner will probably be tomorrow. As far as being entered, you will have to comment under the "contest" post as I am going to use a website that randomizes the posts and chooses a winner for me. Also, there you will find the "ways" to enter. Be a bit patient with me and check back either later tonight or tomorrow for the Alvor contest and probably tomorrow for The Maze Runner contest. Thanks!

  3. Awesome review! I definitely feel like this would be my type of book! I love magic stories... Can't wait to get to the interview and contest rules...

    Which I'm going to read now...

  4. Thanks for the review. I'm still feeling guilty about your sleepless nights, but I guess it's the price you pay.

    And for everyone else, warning, put the book down before 3:00 AM. Seriously. I don't want to be held responsible for sleep deprived readers.

  5. Really good review! I absolutely love books like this! Im going to read the interview and enter the contest. Is this book easy enough to read to my 8 year old or even have her read it herslf? She loves stories about fairies, and magic etc. I will enter the contest as well...looks good!
    Da Book Mom

  6. Sounds like a really good read.