Sunday, September 6, 2009

Book Review: FarWorld: WaterKeep by J. Scott Savage

Other people may see 13 year old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. If fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes, and where trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place--Farworld.

When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for 13 years, a secret that could change the fate of 2 worlds.

But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass's secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld's only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals-- water, land, air, and fire-- and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.

As Kyja and Marcus Travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst evil Dark Circle can throw at them-- Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S'Bae.

Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.


This book came as a recommendation from one of my favorite authors as you all know, James Dashner. He is a friend of J. Scott Savages and as soon as James suggested it, I had to get it and read it. Well, James, you have not failed me! This book was in my opinion, an awesome read. I was engaged from the very first page. I actually finished this in about 2 nights, and considering it is appx. 420 pages, it was obviously difficult to put down. I actually brought this book to work with me and read during some of my off time, which I never do. A definite 5 star book, Water Keep is the first in a series of 5 by Savage. The remaining books include Land Keep (due out real soon!), Air Keep, Fire Keep and Shadow Keep. No doubt I will be at the book store on release date for the rest of the series! I am not going to give much of this one away. I will just tell you that I HIGHLY recommend it and if you have taken any of my advice on my other reviews, you will definitely love this!

Marcus, an orphan and a cripple lives at and attends a boy's school in Arizona. Since he is disabled, he is constantly being picked on by some bullies. Marcus dreams often about a place called "Farworld" a magical place that obviously does not exist...or does it??

Kyja, an orphaned girl as well, lives on a far with a wonderful family who took her in as she was their own. She happens to live in a place where everyone can do some sort of magic. Everyone but Kyja. This has bothered her throughout her entire life. She is the outcast here in a land called "Farworld".

Unlike my typical review, I really do not want to tell much about this book as I believe that you would enjoy the book even more if I left out many of the details. I know this sound weird for a review, but I really want you to read it for yourself and discover the many different people, places and things as I did. What I will tell you is that Marcus and Kyja find out that Master Therapass had taken Marcus from Farworld as a baby and put him on earth to protect him from grave danger. For this to work, he had to create a balance, so he took Kyja from Earth when she was a baby and brought her back to Farworld. The children are raised not knowing any of this at all until they finally meet and they are explained the story by the wizard.

Throughout the book, Marcus and Kyja find themselves bouncing between Earth and Farworld. There are reasons for this. What I will tell you is that many times when they make these world jumps, it is to save their lives. Why?? There are some really bad guys after them. Creatures that thought Marcus was dead several years ago. Creatures that failed to kill him at birth and are bound to do it now at any cost.

The entire world of Farworld is in danger. Marcus and Kyja set out on an impossible mission. One in which no one has ever attempted or even sure is possible. They must find the 4 different Elementals, Water, Land, Fire, and Air. Even if they find these 4 which are hidden, they must have 1 representative from each group join them in their journey. For the only way to restore peace and balance to Farworld is to have one from each group work together in unity. What makes this even more of an impossible feat is that the Elementals do not wish to be in each others presence.

In Water Keep, Marcus and Kyja do find the Water Elementals. They encounter their fiercest battle yet on the outskirts of Water Keep. The Dark Circle has gathered it's largest army so far and are prepared to take Marcus and Kyja at any cost.

There is a whole bunch of things I have left out of this review. I don't know what it is, but again, I have this feeling that it is best for me not to say too much with this book. There are so many things I left out including the different kinds of enemies they battle throughout the book, and trust me, they were definitely not anything you would find on Earth, and their powers were remarkable. Talking trees who have been around for thousands of years and happen to have knowledge no one else does are another example of some of the odd things that Marcus and Kyja encounter. I also left out one of the main characters, Riph Raph, a creature from Farwold, who stays by Kyja's side throughout the book. Riph Raph is sort of a bird sized animal who resembles a lizard but has wings and can fly. Riph Raph was one of my favorite characters to read about. His personality is witty, and even sarcastic at times. What was great is that I was actually able to picture this wise cracking little "thing" so well. At first he does not like Marcus too much. Near the end, the two become closer, but I love how Riph Raph keeps his sarcasm aimed at Marcus, just a bit more in good spirits.

What I actually found quite amusing was every time Kyja and Marcus would "jump" to Earth, the way the author portrays Kyja's amazement with such every day things to us that she has never encountered. She finds cars and trucks fascinating and Chocolate shakes and soda fantabulously delicious, amongst other things.

Although Kyja does not think she have any magical powers, throughout the book there are things she does that makes you wonder as a reader whether magic is your typical "Merlin" style magic of magic wands, fire breathing creatures, or even invisible creatures that suck your soul out of you slowly and painfully until there is nothing left of you or something much deeper. I am not even going to elaborate on that. What I will say is that in my opinion Kyja, who was born on Earth, does indeed have magical powers. Again, they might not be your typical magic, but a kind that would make her quite special indeed.

I suppose the reason for my "out of the norm" review is that I did not know much about Farworld before I read it, mostly that James loved it and that was enough for me to grab a copy. Like I said, I was not let down one bit. For those of you who have read Farworld, please back me up on this one and reassure me that I have said enough and the rest should be left for discovery of the reader. Without a doubt, a wonderful book. I believe part 2, Land Keep comes out on Sept. 15th. If I am right, I know where I will be at 9:01 a.m. that morning, banging on the doors of Barnes & Noble to let me in and get my copy!




  1. You hooked me on this review when you described Marcus's dream so vividly in the first graph, David.

    This is an intriguing, in-depth review of a book I would like to read.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Hugs - Betty Dravis

  2. I have always been on the fringe when it came to reading fantasy. Some of it seemed way out there for my taste. It is reviews like this that have turned the tide for me. Thanks, I've added this book to my TBR pile.

  3. Betty and Sandra,
    Thank you for the kind words! Since you posted on our review, feel free to enter our contest for a chance to win Kristin Cashore's "Fire". The winner will be drawn in about 2 weeks using a site that draws random winners.

  4. Okay, I think this must have been one of your longest reviews ever! =P You did good reviewing anyway, though I personally think you revealed too much. (Of course, you left a lot out too, so that's fine.)

    I read Waterkeep myself. I can vouch for how good a read it is. I even wrote my own review for it recently. Anyone who wants to check it out is welcome to.

  5. Wow, this book sounds awesome! Great review! I love the cover of the book.

  6. I'd never heard of this book. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I liked this book a lot, too. Absolutely loved the charachters and look forward to reconnecting with them again soon.

  8. I am so adding this book (and series) to my TBR pile.

  9. This sounds like a good addition to my sons library. I liked your review, you made me want to read it.

  10. I've just recently read Talking to the Dead, by Bonnie Grove. This isn't classified as a YA book, but I see no reason why it would be objectionable for 14-16 year olds and up.

    I'm an old lady, and I often stop to think about my own FarWorld. A place where I feel accepted, and safe...where I could keep up with technology, and could find the photo's stored in the BlackBerry:-)

    Thanks for the review.

  11. This sounds like my kind of book! I love books where supposedly normal kids or teens travel to unknown magical worlds. And the cover of this one is incredible! Great review!

  12. I'm definitely going to like this book. I love adventure and magical worlds. Something different from the norm. Thanks for the great review!