To be queen was never her destiny...Arthensil City was the refuge of humanity along the Eiderveis River. Under the guidance of Lord Ostincair humanity thrived. Only select hunting parties dared venture into the deep forests along the river, for a corruption spread from the wizard's mountains in the south to beast and creature alike.
But Ostincair's men were about to make a discovery that could change the face of the river. For a child born of two races would be found, and her innocence would be a beacon to the faithful.
I'm a big fan of well rendered cover-art. I know many readers quip, "Don't judge a book by its cover!", however that's just it - many people do judge a book by its cover (especially if they're not a voracious reader). That being said, I was exceptionally thrilled with the cover-art of Neverqueen in the copy I have (there are two versions). We see a mystical land filled with fog in the background, and a regal It'ren holding a crown in the foreground surrounded by little mer-people. If anything I would buy this book simply for its delightful art!
There are a good deal of intriguing characters within the pages of Neverqueen. The main character, Violet, and her two unlikely companions take the lead - however, we also see the appearance of little mer-people (as implied by the cover-art), the great white dragon, a sinister blind fairy, and much more. There are a good deal of extras to help the plot along, but in general the story never strays far from Violet and her mission at hand.
In literary criticism, this type of tale would be termed a bildungsroman, or a "coming-of-age" novel. We grow with Violet, watching her life unfold from tiny babe to curious kid, from brave girl to noble queen. The plot sweeps from the fingertips of evil to the heart of darkness, which can only be conquered by the faith of a child - Violet and her companions struggle to overcome traps laid by a villainous Ar'ten all the while trying to avoid the pitfalls within their own hearts. There are lessons to be learned along the way, some much harder than others - and the consequences of doing things as one sees fit can lead to life-threatening disasters.
Appleton delivers strong supporting morals for his story, which go hand-in-hand with Biblical truths. I was a fan of this style in the Sword of the Dragon series and was pleased to see it once again in Neverqueen.
I think Neverqueen is the perfect tale for a middle-school reader. The writing style is straight-forward and simplistic; my main qualm was that the characters often acted in ways that were not believable. I felt this took away from the plot of the novel. However, I think it would be well enjoyed by the young and growing reader. The style is easy and there are many great action scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
I would recommend this book to any pre-teen (as I feel that age group would best enjoy the novel)! And I'm pleased to have it in my collection - I look forward to telling the kids in my life about Neverqueen!
Overall, Neverqueen is a great fantasy read with strong moral background - perfect for the young reader :) I give it 4/5 stars.
To learn more about Scott Appleton, visit his website at: http://authorappleton.com/
To buy Neverqueen, check it out over at Amazon.
Signed with cinnamon,