Annison’s Risk by Paul McCusker

Book description:

A game of hide-and-seek takes Maddy Nicholaivitch to Marus, where she is taken in by a beautiful princess who has just married the conquering king. After overhearing the secret plans of the king’s most trusted advisor, Maddy must decide if her loyalty to the princess is worth the price of her life. Based on the biblical story of Esther, Annison’s Risk takes readers on a journey with a queen who is willing to risk her life in order to save her people. Any fan of Tolkien will appreciate this fantasy story, and with a new cover and interior graphics, it’s better than ever!

My review:

McCusker has a gift for bringing Bible stories to life in a way that is easy for younger readers to read, understand, and enjoy.  Younger readers might read the story of Esther in the Bible and not identify with her.  However, Maddy seems like a regular girl that many readers might identify with and then be encouraged and motivated to read the real story.  Alternately, readers might read this story first, and then at a later time encounter the story of Esther and be excited to make the connection between the two stories.

I’m not a huge fan of fantasy writing, but this book is easy to follow and appreciate.  The characters are interesting and endearing, and the plot keeps you on your toes and makes you want to keep reading.  I think this story will pull in even the most reluctant readers.

If you are looking for a book with a good message for tween readers, this is a great choice!  Be aware that this is book three of the Adventures in Odyssey series, and while it is not necessary to have read the first two to enjoy this one, I think it makes the story better if you have already read them.

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