Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: "One Realm Beyond" by Donita K. Paul

One Realm Beyond is the first book (and currently only book) of the Realm Walkers series by Donita K. Paul.  Once young realm walkers have learned all they can under their mentors, they are free to roam the realms looking for a dragon companion.  Cantor thought that would be an easy task compared to all of the things he would do once an official member of the Realm Walkers Guild: protecting and defending the realms.

Upon stepping through his first portal to another realm, he immediately encounters a dragon that is intent on becoming his constant companion.  Cantor is thoroughly unimpressed by the clumsy, goofy dragon and tries repeatedly to send him away.  This dragon, Bridger, may be one of my favorite dragons of all time. He's endearing, eccentric, and fiercely loyal, qualities that Cantor stubbornly ignores.

Cantor learns of the corruption in the Guild, from which his mentors had sheltered him for his entire life.  The unique characters he meets along the way join forces to attempt to bring the Guild back to the noble cause it was created to uphold.

On top of an exciting adventure, plenty of mishaps, and likeable characters, the book had an encompassing positive message. Even when facing the bad guys, it doesn't mean the heroes have to stoop to their level:
"Darling, one should always have weapons at hand [...] But sometimes a sharp tongue parries an evil intent.  A witty retort may stymie an enemy. And best of all, a kind and generous reply can take the wind out of the sails of a foe." (274)
It's also simple messages, such as looking at what's going right, instead of everything that's messed up, that make me love the message this book would give to any reader, especially teenagers.

One Realm Beyond, published by Zondervan, is a book with a Christian theme that is not over the top or out of place.  As it takes place in another world, they refer to God by another name: Primen.  Much of the characters' motivations are influenced by their loyalty to Primen and doing what is right.

As a lover of language, I appreciated that the book had nice vocabulary in it. The book is witty in introducing words that may not be so familiar to the teen audience:
"Deprived tongue?" She scoffed.  "You've a depraved mind, I'm thinking."
"The words aren't the same, Ahma. Depraved means he commits evil deeps involving blatant turpitude." (20-21)
To go a step further, the book even talks about how "vulgarities and profanity demonstrated lazy thinking" (343).  When the corrupt guild members spoke like that, the heroes recognized that it was their uneducated, evil minds that couldn't come up with words that carried real weight.

There was one odd time jump that put me off a little bit.  The chapter ends with a dragon on the roof of a building in the middle of a heavily guarded city.  It would seem as though it might be challenging for our heroes to escape the city without notice, but the next chapter begins with the characters outside the city. I guess it must've been an uneventful exit.

Other than at that one particular chapter break, I absolutely loved the book and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes young adult fantasy books, especially if they love quirky characters and a quick, fun read.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Book Look for this review.  The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.


  1. Sounds like a great book, love the cover of it!

    1. Yes, the cover was mysterious - dark surrounding the light. A true depiction of the storyline considering the good vs. evil theme in the book.