Jennifer Garrett’s adventure novel includes dragons, swords, and a grand quest; as Anna’s fate threads across two worlds, it includes an unexpected, moving twist.
Just before her mother fights off shadow men and urges Anna into the basement toward a strange blue light, she hands her a mysterious star compass and tells her to follow where it leads—which happens to be into a tunnel to a new land, where the door closes behind her. Cut off from London and alone, Anna moves into the unknown.
In her new world, a quest is thrust upon Anna: to unite three ruling siblings in order to save the magic in the kingdom. Without her help and that of the star compass, the world could be lost, so Anna undertakes the challenges she’s presented with, including riding a horse for days at a time, wielding a sword, and compelling a queen to listen to her.
The book’s settings and time periods mix in an unclear way: Anna goes through the tunnel in jeans, but no one in the new land comments on this, though they seem to exist in an age of knights, wherein women battle alongside men and queens rule just as kings do. Though the three siblings rule, those beneath them have divided loyalties; what divides them, and why they oscillate between good and evil actions, is vague.
Anna is a winning heroine who’s eager to help her adopted kingdom in Brave Anna and the Star Compass, a fantasy for young readers whose quests are metaphors for larger life battles. Anna’s willingness to fight alongside her friends speaks to that which is indomitable in the human spirit, while her faith in herself, and her self-determination, are inspiring.
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