PROFESSIONAL BOOK REVIEWS
Victor and the Sun Orb
Bettie Corbin Tucker, Author, Publisher, Independent Professional Book Reviewers (Amazon.com, 5-stars)
In reading Victor and the Sun Orb by Amy Nielsen, I was immediately hooked by the intriguing prologue and knew that young readers would keep turning the pages until they reached the climatic ending. Also, they will be watching for the sequel to this book which entertains with an imaginative and magical storyline.
Although Victor and the Sun Orb is appropriate for children who are 8 to 13 years of age, I believe older children will also be captivated by Prince Victor, the son of Queen Magenta and King Godfred. These royal parents are the highly admired leaders of Solandia, a place inhabited by sun fairies with supernatural powers that enable them to fly, use magic wands, and become invisible to those living outside of their dominion.
The author, obviously very gifted, has crafted a dramatic adventure with a magical storyline that brings the characters to life with vivid description and appropriate dialogue. I enjoyed the personality of Prince Victor who definitely has no problem in expressing his likes and dislikes as a prince growing up in a castle where everything seems to be perfect. Of course, he has no knowledge or concern about the Sun Orb which powers all of Solandia. Without it, there would be no supernatural powers, and he, his parents, and the other sun fairies would not survive.
When Victor reaches the age of 10, he learns that a curse had been placed on his life shortly after his birth. Unless the curse is broken, the prince will become a human at the age of 13, facing mortality. He must live outside of Solandia in order to survive. Though his parents use all their resources to discover who placed this curse upon him, they are unsuccessful. And so, as caring parents, they begin to prepare Prince Victor for life as a human, trusting his training—seven lessons—to Master Tyrus, the retired Minister of Defense of Solandia. One of Victor’s lessons concerned the knowledge of the Sun Orb and its magical powers.
On Victor’s thirteenth birthday, he leaves home to begin his life as a human where he enjoys the company of a special friend named Annika. When the Sun Orb is stolen, Queen Magenta and King Godfred, with a large presence of warriors, travel to Fallen Island in search of the Sun Orb. However, their magic is growing weaker and weaker without their source of power, and the odds of success are not in their favor. Prince Victor also travels to Fallen Island to rescue Annika who has been kidnapped. What follows is an incredible battle of good versus evil. Although the good fairies receive some surprising help, there is tense fighting and much to overcome if Solandia is to be saved. Surely, readers will want to know the outcome of this battle as well as what happens to Victor. Will he become a fairy again and who is the dark hooded figure who placed the evil curse upon him in the first place? Expect the unexpected!
Readers will be fascinated by the many mythical creatures and will want to read this book over and over again. My eleven-year-old granddaughter was instantly hooked by the storyline and then enjoyed telling the story to her younger brother. Victor and the Sun Orb is wonderfully entertaining with important lessons to be learned. I highly recommend it.
Cy Hilterman, Bestsellersworld.com (Amazon.com,5-stars)
When I was approached to read and review this book, I tossed over and over in my mind as to whether I could enjoy this type of book and give it a justifiable review. As I got into the book, it grew on me very quickly to the point that I was looking forward to the next page to find out what could occur next. This book is written for 8 to 12 year old children but after reading this excellent book, I think even older age groups would love it.
Queen Magenta and King Godfred were lord and masters of Solandia of the Amoretto Kingdom. They were strong leaders but ran Solandia in a kind way that made their people think extremely highly of their queen and king. Solandia was powered by the Sun Orb. As long as the Sun Orb was with them, their living was so good. The Sun Orb had to be protected because many outside the immediate area wanted the power that the Sun Orb would give them while ruining those in Solandia. Solandia and the Sun Orb were protected in general by “gallants” who were loyal guards and/or warriors that did all they could to protect all their citizens. Solandia residents had magic wands that were powered by the Sun Orb. Those living in Solandia were fairies that could fly and be invisible to those outside the area.
Some time previously, King Godfred's brother, Prince Thorkel, had tried to steal the Sun Orb, was caught, and sentenced to life imprisonment. It could have been death but for Queen Magenta speaking on his behalf.
Five hundred years later Prince Victor was born to the king and queen. You see, people of Solandia never aged but rather lived forever, unlike the humans who aged and died after a certain time. As Prince Victor was baptized, there lurked some evil from outside the kingdom. This evil or dark spirits, unseen until it was too late, placed a spell on the prince. How could this occur? The only one they could think of that would want to hurt the royal family was Thorkel but he was imprisoned in a distant land. The protection was increased around the entire royal family while the search for the culprit continued. One of the most trusted men, Master Tyrus, was appointed as Prince Victor's instructor. The prince reluctantly took Tyrus as his teacher but insisted that the lessons last no longer than three hours a day. Tyrus, as well as some others, took personal attention to the prince and knew they would be there to protect him.
Prince Victor had seven lessons he had to learn, one each day of the week. These lessons would prove to be invaluable to the prince in days as well as years to come. He was a good student and Tyrus was an exceptional teacher. Included in the lessons were flying to many new places using their own wings or falcons for longer distances. The king and queen had told Bogle to go along out of sight to protect the prince if needed. One of the lessons was to visit the humans. Naturally the humans couldn't see them so they observed the humans with interest and inquisitiveness. They observed the humans in an auto wreck and Prince Victor insisted he go to the scene and try to help. Despite Tyrus's objections, Victor did go to the wreck and couldn't believe the terrible condition the humans were in. One young girl he touched and she seemed to have life restored back into her body but no one could know that Victor did this deed.
Someone did manage to steal the Sun Orb, placing Solandia in trouble with loss of any of the super powers they possessed including a decreased power of their wands. Investigations were held and it was so decided that war would have to occur to get the Sun Orb back. The war against their enemies was hard fought and with lots of casualties on both sides. You will have to read the book to learn the actions and results of the war, who won and who survived. Even many adults would enjoy this story. As I read I couldn’t but help think of what a great movie it would make with so many different types of characters, strange and different scenes, flying fairies, wands that performed magical actions, interaction between birds, animals, strange humans, and the many people of Solandia.
Gary Sorkin, Senior Editor, Pacific Book Review (5-stars)
The sun orb takes the power of the sun and distributes it to the five poles of Solandia, a fantasy world "above" our Earthly world, on Sun Fairy Empowerment Day. If it wasn't for the Sun Orb, the magic wands of Queen Magenta and King Godfred, Prince Victor's parents, would be powerless. Everyone knows without magical powers, fantasy worlds cannot exist.
So are the wonderfully articulated assumptions creating the basis for the storyline of Prince Victor, the heir to the throne of this magical fantasy world - but there's one problem! Young Prince Victor will lose his magical power at the age of thirteen unless he finds a way to rid himself of the dark curse placed upon him at his Baptism.
Amy Nielsen takes readers on this beautifully written childhood story in her novel Victor and the Sun Orb. Through her fantasy world created with lovely names, righteous people, Kings, Queens and Lords, all with a touch of magic up their sleeve, she authors a clean-cut, wholesome story. In the wake of creative authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, each page is open and bright with clarity of the altruistic goals and motivations of her characters. She artfully sets the storybook world where colorful magical powers grace the existence of fanciful characters. She gently darkens the story with an evil undercurrent, however bad behavior gets punished whilst good prevails and morality is rewarded - all wonderful lessons to be taught to our children.
Her graphically "Happy" cover art of a rainbow over a brilliant sunrise suggest her targeting a young audience. This book is ideal for children looking to immerse themselves in an adventure story of gallant proportions spiced with the flavor of beautiful names and places. This book would be an ideal gift for a child going off to a camp or on a trip, as a companion book for time alone. Amy Nielsen's story of Victor and the Sun Orb continues as she ends with what is the beginning of a sequel yet to be published.
William Potter, Author, Reader's Choice Book Reviews (Amazon.com, 5-stars)
Sun fairies both good and evil, monstrous creatures, adventure, magic, a talking strawberry bush, ant royalty, and an epic battle for the freedom of an entire world are in store in the wonderful young adult fantasy Victor and the Sun Orb by Amy Nielsen.
The book captivates from the Prologue. On Solandia, another dimension of earth, a mythical sphere called the Sun Orb gives the fairies their magical powers. Without the Orb the entire world will become dark and magic-less. The book opens at the trial of Thorkel, the brother of King Godfred, a short time after Thorkel's capture for stealing the Sun Orb. Under Solandian law, Thorkel is sentenced by Queen Magenta to life imprisonment for his crime.
Some 500 years later, Queen Magenta has given birth to a son, Prince Victor. Not long after his birth it is learned that he has been cursed to become human on his 13th birthday. Humans cannot survive in the fairy world of Solandia and so upon turning the fateful age, Victor must leave his family to live with humans. The King and Queen search the entire Kingdom for the person responsible for Victor's mortality curse.
Victor's parents take the curse very seriously and decide to pepare Victor for life with the humans. Victor begins training with a fairy Master Tyrus. For three hours a day, Victor is trained in magic, history, geography, self-defense, and human lifestyles. Victor doesn't take to his studies right away, but in time he becomes a proficient student.
Despite an intense, decade-long search, the curse is not broken. Victor leaves home to live on Earth as a human after his thirteenth birthday. Meanwhile, the Sun Orb is stolen and the fairies' magic instantly begins to weaken. It is believed that Narcissa, a once banished terrorist fairy, or even Thorkel, may be responsible for the theft. Magenta and Godfred assemble an army and travel to a place called Fallen Island to find the Sun Orb. On Earth, Victor's human friend, Annika, has been kidnapped and evidence is found of evil fairy magic. Victor must use all he has learned from Master Tyrus to travel to Fallen Island to save her.
Amy Nielsen has created a universe with loveable creatures, horrible monsters, and mythical magic, effectively keeping readers of all ages entertained from cover to cover. Nielsen steadily builds the momentum over the first 100 pages. Then she throws us onto a thrill ride of twists and turns in the closing chapters, as the armies of Magenta/Godfred and Narcissa/Thorkel's evil Croogs meet in a heroic battle to save or enslave all Solandia.
Highly recommended for readers 8-13, with caution of some mild course language.
San Francisco Book Review (September 2011 Issue, 4-stars)
In Solandia, the land of the fairies, to be a prince is of the highest rank and honor. Nothing should go wrong for him—however, for the celebrated Victor, it does. During his baptism, a spell causing him to turn slowly turn human is cast. The only way for Victor to prevent himself from becoming fully mortal and eventually having to live in the human world is to retrieve a sun orb. The problem lies in the hands of a mysterious dark figure who has the sun orb in his possession and will not let its extraordinary power go. Victor must find a way to retrieve the orb or else leave the world that he knows, forever.
Amy Nielsen fuses our contemporary world with a fantastical one with fairly few hiccups and a well-paced plot. Moral confliction, betrayal, and its stark opposite loyalty are running themes throughout the adventurous novel. Readers will enjoy the rich descriptions of Nielsen’s mythical land and its endearing characters. She does well in the blurred battle lines of good and evil, setting a well-lit stage for a possible sequel.
Ben Hartman (Age 11), Reader Views Kids (Amazon.com,5-stars)
"Victor and the Sun Orb" is a brilliant fantasy book about sun fairies by Amy Nielsen. Much of the story takes place in the fairy kingdom of Solandia, where there are mythical creatures such as croogs and talking animals, and the people have magical powers. All their magic and powers are based on one item - the Sun Orb, a ball that is bright yellow and looks like the sun. Although they can see the human world below them, they are not allowed to interfere or interact with it. The main character in the book is Victor, the newborn fairy prince. His mother and father, King Godfred and Queen Magenta, are the rulers of the magic kingdom of Solandia. The book revolves around Victor's quest in the human world to retrieve the Sun Orb from two evil people, Thorkel and Narcissa, so the sun fairies can survive.
The book starts when the news is spread around that Victor, the fairy prince, has been born. King Godfred and Queen Magenta throw a large Baptismal Ceremony. While the King and Queen are opening Victor's presents the next day, they see a silver present with a black silken bowtie. A crystal ball inside it falls to the ground and smashes. It releases a string of words - a curse that said Victor will become a mortal at age thirteen. His parents are afraid of the curse and have Master Tyrus try to prepare him for the human world. He teaches him "geography, history, social studies, practical and advanced magic, self-defense, natural law, and human lifestyles." After Victor's thirteenth birthday, the Sun Orb is taken by Narcissa to Fallen Island, which is next to the human world. When Victor turns thirteen and turns mortal because of the curse he is sent to the human world. While he is there, he goes on a quest to retrieve the Sun Orb, which is his only chance of breaking the curse and going home to Solandia. Will Victor survive the human world and get the Sun Orb?
I would recommend this book for readers 9 to 12-years-old. I would compare it to "Quasar and the Eye of the Serpent" by T.K. Reed, except with a longer and more complex quest. Don't be discouraged if you think the book is slow when you start reading it. Amy Nielsen does a great job of building up the suspense more and more on every page as she describes Victor's quest. After the first few chapters you will not want to put it down. "Victor and the Sun Orb" by Amy Nielsen is a five-star, must read for fantasy lovers.
Emily Labelle, High School Student, Feathered Quill Book Reviews, (4-stars)
Prince Victor's life is doomed from the start. He is born to become mortal on his 13th birthday. His parents, the King and Queen of the Sun Fairies, are horrified by the terrible evil that has descended upon their family. Who had they ever wronged? They were loved by all of the inhabitants of their Kingdom Solandia. There were only two suspects; an evil terrorist named Narcissa, or Victor's own Uncle Thorkel, who was banished from Solandia hundreds of years before he was born. The King and Queen look far and wide for the perpetrator with no luck. Meanwhile Victor grows ever closer to his 13th birthday.
Victor and the Sun Orb is a fantastical novel that follows the obstacles that the young prince of the Sun Fairies must face to overcome the terrible curse set upon him as a baby. In the beginning Victor is a typical young boy, only concerned with playing and having fun. As the story progresses, he begins to mature and appreciate the important things in life. Victor is forced to grow up quickly and to deal with several challenging events all on his own. He becomes a mortal on his 13th birthday and must leave the only world he's ever known to live in the world of the humans. After one of his human friends is kidnapped by an evil fairy, Victor must go on a quest to save her and become a fairy again.
Meanwhile in Solandia the Sun Orb, the source of magical power for the fairies, is stolen. Suddenly the fate of all the Sun Fairies lies in Victor's hands. Victor must find the Sun Orb, which is now in the hands of the King and Queen of Darkness, and retrieve it in order to keep all of Solandia from falling into darkness. Victor meets many creatures along the way, including a highly original talking strawberry bush named Strawberryhawk and the King of the Ants.
At first glance, Victor and the Sun Orb, with a very vibrant rainbow and sun on the cover, appears to be for much younger readers than the teen target audience. But this is a true case where you should not judge a book by its cover. It is a truly thrilling and heart warming adventure of a young prince and his family. It is a good choice for both pre-teens and young adults; both will be drawn into the mystifying world of Sun Fairies.
Amy Nielsen puts forth a story that will keep readers ripping through the pages. Her simple use of language makes for a fast paced, satisfying story. Nielsen's story is filled with underlying life lessons and issues; such as the importance of family and the always controversial issue of what happens after death. Although the ending is somewhat predictable, it is a worthwhile adventure to go on.
Quill says: Don't judge this book by the cover, it is an entertaining story for teen readers.
The Book Buff (Goodreads, 4-stars)First off let me tell you that the cover of this book is a bit misleading and really does a disservice to the awesome story. The cover portrays a sweetness and light book you might buy for your 7 year old niece. This is simply not the essence of the book. The book is a wonderfully written YA mini-epic. It isn't quite as epic as say The Chronicles of Narnia, but it absolutely holds its own. Much like Narnia, this book is one that can be enjoyed at any age, teen or adult (hey I liked it and I'm in my early 20s). It took a bit to really get into the story, but once you were in, you were in. The strongest point was the writing in general, I thought it was awesome. I think the author did really well in making it very readable, while at the same time, challenging the young teen reader. I am looking forward to more from this author in the future. The book was chalk full of real life lessons intermingled seamlessly with the elements of magic, which appeals to the kid in everyone. The ending was sweet and predictable, but the book was really more about the journey rather than the destination. I loved this book, and highly recommend it for young teens, 2 Borders with a Coupon.
Judith A. Mays, The Muncie Times (May 19, 2011 Issue)
This book of fiction is written for youth ages 9-12. Baby boomers and some of the group known as Generation X will remember their own fascination at that age with Peter Pan or stories by Hans Christian Andersen ( The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, The Emperor’s New Coat) or Grimm’s Fairy Tales ( Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood).
I thought about Peter Pan and his beloved Tinker Bell while reading this exceptional offering by Nielsen. Exceptional in that the author has taken her craft beyond just the typical fiction fantasy and painted a biological sketch of an improbable dimension. In fact, one could possibly conjure up the notion that the location in Victor and the Sun Orb could very well be Tinker Bell’s own hometown. This fantasy kingdom is known as Solandia.
The kingdom of Solandia is inhabited by bird people, cat people, centaurs, budamen, dwarves and elves, beside other fairies. The kingdom is ruled by King Godfred (once a human) and the beautiful Queen Magenta (a fairy).
Lurking in the shadows of the forest and with access to the castle are forces of evil; one in particular is known only as the Dark Figure. As the Council is summoned by the Queen it is discovered that the sun orb, the source of power to Solandia is stolen and the very existence of the kingdom at risk. With the capture of the thief comes a devastating betrayal. What ensues as a result is the end of any communication between the human and fairy dimensions.
Several hundred years later came the birth of Prince Victor. The joy celebrated by the King and Queen as well as the residents of Solandia turns to great sorrow when it is realized that a curse has been placed on the young prince. At age thirteen he will have to leave Solandia and enter into the human realm.
The sun orb, once again stolen, heightens suspicion of close ties and war is inevitable.
Throughout the 158 page book Nielsen builds a creative tapestry that weaves an incredible story. The book in my opinion would readily hold the attention of the intended reading audience. The upside is that a reader’s passion for reading and perhaps writing would be stirred.
The cautionary point, however, is that Nielsen makes reference to a Supreme God, Creator of all. References are made to actual biblical accounts of fallen angels (including the fairies) and the human belief that after death, if good works have been the standard, their souls will be received by God. The accounts are somewhat altered making an interesting impact on the storyline.
I find that youth in this age group are impressionable and confused about biblical accounts. For any parent, but especially those of the Christian faith, it should be emphasized that the book is fiction. This is possibly a great opportunity to share faith with this age group, rightly dividing the word of truth. A good reference would be Revelation 21:8 in the Holy Bible.
Mary A. Hughes, The US Review of Books
"What if the sun orb falls into evil hands? Then Solandia will live in darkness."
Victor, a sun fairy, is born to the King and Queen of Amoretto. It is his unfortunate luck that on the night of his baptism, he is cursed by a mysterious entity with glowing red eyes. His fate? To become human when he turns thirteen. For Victor, this not only means losing his magical abilities but also going into exile. While the kingdom's advisors scrambles to find a way to break the curse, Victor is trained on how to survive as a human. In a test of wits, strength, and courage, Victor will be dragged to into the depths of the underworld, questing to find the sun orb and the mysterious entity that cursed him.
Anais Nin once said that, "It is the function of art to renew our perception." The author of Victor and the Sun Orb does just that by taking a fresh take on traditional fairy folklore. It is not uncommon in folklore for fairies to lure humans to the realm on the fae, never to be seen again. It is intriguing, thought to see a fairy become human and understand his struggles to adapt. It makes this story stand out while appealing to young adults.
Nielsen's writing depicts the fairy realm as more human than typically portrayed, yet she weaves a fantastical tale that embraces the familiar magical charm of classic fairytales and mythology. The reader will appreciate the complexities the story presents, particularly that of what it means to live the consequences of one's actions.
Alice D., Readers Favorite (5-stars)
In the fairy kingdom of Solandia, Queen Magenta and King Godfred punish the king's brother, Prince Thorkel, for attempting to steal the sun orb which gives power to the entire kingdom from the sun. Years pass, Thorkel's survival is unknown, and Queen Magenta gives birth to a son, Prince Victor. At Prince Victor's christening, an evil gift is slipped in among the many gifts to the new baby. Queen Magenta opens it by mistake, and the gift reveals an unbreakable spell which will make Prince Victor a human when he turns thirteen. Victor plays with Trobit, a fairy child of his age, and he is tutored by wise Master Tyrus whose words of wisdom will save him as Queen Magenta, King Godfred, and their supporters prepare to invade Fallen Island where evil exists. Prince Victor learns about accepting others, but can he help to conquer the overwhelming evil that threatens Solandia? Will he help his parents thwart his mother's wicked sister, Princess Cassandra, and the now totally evil Prince Thorkel?
Victor and the Sun Orb is a brilliantly written and edited original fairy tale that has good guys, bad guys, and a storyline that never fails. Main character Victor is a totally believable young teenager, and all of the numerous characters...fairy, human, and quasi animal... are well-created and fit nicely into the story's development. A map of the fairy land would be helpful to readers but not essential. Author Nielsen has done a first-rate job of creating a world where fairies and humans both exist, just in different dimensions. It's a great selection for preteens who recall favorite folktales with enthusiasm and love.
Diana Reed, Dreamtime Press (Amazon.com, 3-stars)
Victor and the Sun Orb, by Amy Nielsen, introduces the story of Prince Victor of Solandia, born to the king and queen of the sun fairies; however, long before the prince is born, a terrible thing happens in Solandia--the sun orb is stolen. The culprit is caught and imprisoned, and the matter is thought to be resolved. Prince Victor is born years later; but on the day of his baptism a spell is put on him that will transform him into a mortal on his thirteenth birthday. At that time, he'll be forced to leave Solandia and join the human world.
Not long after Victor becomes human, the sun orb is stolen again. War begins in the fairy world. Mysterious events take place. Victor must embark on a quest to get back the sun orb, his mortality, and his human friend, Annika. On this quest, he finds himself up against enemies and mythical creatures, but with the help of friends and others he meets along the way, he defeats them all.
Written specifically for older children, they should enjoy this story quite a bit. There's some lessons in it, as Victor goes through his education and his quest, that Nielsen's young audience may benefit from, along with briefly touching on some bigger questions that older children will just be starting to discover. On the other hand, the story seemed a little detached from its characters, even Victor. It was a little difficult to try and care for the cast and whether or not they completed their goals and saved their people. The story does have elements of slightly more traditional fairytales and has some of that style and tone, and is overall a good story of courage and strength.
Victor and the Sun Orb is intended for children ages 8-12 but those somewhat older than this might enjoy it as well, and any child that enjoys fantasy should enjoy this book.