Friday, September 26, 2008

Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage

Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage
Copyright 2008
Shadow Mountain - Fantasy/YA
416 pages, incl. discussion questions

All at once something occurred to Kyja -- something that seemed completely impossible. She grabbed Marcus by the shoulder of his cloak. "The man in the box. Was he living there?"

"I guess so." Marcus turned to Ty with a what's-the-big-deal look.

But Kyja felt her heart pounding. This was all wrong. What kind of world was it where amazing machines were everywhere, but a mother and her baby had to live in a broken car and an old man slept in a box?

What led you to pick up this book? I read a fabulous interview with J. Scott Savage -- I have no idea where -- that piqued my interest. Then, I read a million reviews of the book and a zillion more interviews. It just grew worse and worse. Savage sent out 150 ARCs? And, I wasn't one of the people he asked to review? Sob, fuss. I signed up to try to win a copy, all over the blog universe. I just had to read that book everyone was raving about. In fact, I ended up winning two and rejecting one (mustn't be greedy). When my copy arrived, I foisted it on my son. He gobbled it up and I kept hearing him laugh while he read. So, you can imagine how eager I was for my own turn.

Summarize the plot without giving away the ending.

Description borrowed from

Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place- Farworld.

When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.

But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass's secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld's only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals- water, land, air and fire- and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.

As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst the evil Dark Circle can throw at them- Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S'Bae.

Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.

What did you like most about the book? It's a great escapist read, very adventurous but often light-hearted. I love it when an author doesn't take his subject matter too seriously and injects plenty of humorous moments.

What did you think of the characters? Loved the hero and heroine, but I was particularly fond of Kyja, a lovely character with a huge, warm heart.

Describe your favorite scene: Toward the beginning of the book, a pack of bullies sets out to beat up Marcus. Marcus thwarts their efforts with a little magic and a mop handle.

Recommended? Absolutely. Especially recommended for those who love fantasy, but I'm not a big fantasy reader and I enjoyed the book. It was a nice change of pace. It's very, very family-friendly. I always appreciate a good, family-friendly read that I can share with my son.

In general: The only thing I didn't like about the book is something that seems to annoy me every time I read fantasy; there comes a point at which I think most authors go overboard when it comes to marching out more and more new characters -- more monsters or bad guys of different varieties, in particular. After a time, I tend to get them all mixed up in my head and I'm not sure which critter I'm supposed to visualize. It's a Bookfool problem. I need a glossary of creatures, I suppose. Since my copy is an ARC, there may be one in the final copy -- I just don't know.

Cover thoughts: Love it; absolutely love the cover. I'm not actually certain who is on the cover, but I still love it.

Extra thoughts from Kiddo: I tried to snooker him into sharing what he thought about the book, before I read it, but he dodged my efforts. However, he accidentally said, "I can't wait for the other books in the series!" I said, "Ha! Caught! You loved it!" He grinned sheepishly and nodded. Kids are so funny.

Next review will be The Darcys and the Bingleys and then I'll be caught up! Unless, of course, I manage to finish reading something else before I write up the review. You know how that goes.


  1. I like this already - literally judging the book by its cover. :-p Looks like a great escapist read eh?

    OOoh... and how are The Darcys and the Bingleys?? Looking forward to your review of that book.

    Hope you're feeling better!!

  2. The Darcys and the Bingleys? I can't wait to hear about that one.

    I didn't love Far World, although my 12-year-old son did. I felt like I'd read the book before, if that makes sense.

    But Mr. Darcy? I LOVE Mr. Darcy. I hope the book is good.

  3. Indigo,

    That's exactly what I thought of it -- good escapist reading. I can't say I loved it as much as my son, but I enjoyed the change of pace.

    The Darcys and the Bingleys is very fun. I'll try to get that review up as soon as possible -- gotta clean house, though, now that I'm not near death. :)


    Yes, The Darcys and the Bingleys. I will warn you that you have to be willing to accept slightly different characterization to handle the reading of the book, but once I decided to just go with the flow, I absolutely loved it. There are quite a few really funny scenes. More on that, later. :)

    Oh, yes, I do know what you mean. I didn't feel like that book was too similar to anything I've read, but I've experienced that sensation. I didn't love the book as much as my son did, either, but I enjoyed it. It was fun. I do think he eventually went overboard on the creation of new characters, so the latter third of the book was less satisfying than the beginning. That sounds weird, but I was hitting overload at the end.

  4. Ha ha--to be fair we signed up for this--Scott didn't ask each of us personally!! :) At least that was the case with me, but I think it was mostly through his blog that people signed up for a copy... This is one of the things google reader is good for, though. Otherwise I would have missed out as well.

    Glad you had fun with it!! I got really mixed up with some of the creatures as well--especially the bad guys.

  5. Trish,

    See, I didn't know that. Poor ignorant little me didn't get on the Google Reader train until last week.

    I did enjoy it. The bad guys were really the majority -- poor Kyja and Marcus had a lot to deal with -- so that's what I had trouble with, as well. Master Therapass and Morning Dew are the only other prominent "good guys" I can think of, off the top of my head. The Thrathkin S'Bae were nasty. I wanted to thwack them with a broom.

  6. I've seen nothing but great reviews of this one! It sounds like I really need to read it.

  7. Nymeth,

    I do believe you'd enjoy Farworld. Go ahead, give it a try. :)

  8. That's the water elementals on the cover! I love the's Brandon Dorman and he's one of my favorite YA illustrators. The published version has interior illustrations by him too.

    And like Trish said, he had a sign up post to receive an ARC ;) You just missed that one, but at least you got a copy!

    I'm with your son. I can't wait for the rest of this series!

  9. I like that you mention that it is full of adventure, "but often light-hearted." Love adventure, but also like fun in my fantasy!

  10. Chris,

    Aha! Of course, I should have realized those were the water elementals, but I think a part of my brain thought Kyja and Marcus ought to be in there, somewhere. Thanks! I think I've just become a fan of your favorite YA artist. :) Mine is an ARC, darn it. I'd love to see the rest of the illustrations.

    Yep, I missed that sign-up post, but I was determined to read that book. LOL

    It's loads of fun, isn't it? I'm always particularly thrilled to find a series for kiddo. He is a fast, fast reader. I should post a photo or two of his shelves, some time. He rereads his books, which seems odd because he has so many, but neither his mom or the library can keep up with him (our library tends not to stock his faves).


    Me, too. In fact, I tend to become annoyed with books in which the author takes things too seriously. I like a little injection of humor, now and then. I think you'd like Farworld. :)

  11. Yayy! I'm glad you liked this one. I've wanted to read it ever since Melissa did an interview for ER. Enablers! All of ya!


  12. I did find this one great fun. I admit that I hadn't signed up to read it because I wasn't sure I would like the fact that it was labeled as a YA book, but when the author asked if I'd be interested, I caved in--so glad I did. I'm trying to get my husband to read it now.

  13. Andi,

    I must have missed Melissa's review. Farworld is fun. I'd share my copy with you, but the kiddo has claimed it.

    Methinks we're all guilty of the enabling thing. Reading book blogs is dangerous!


    I love YA books and keep hoping some publisher of YA will discover me and foist a few upon me. Ah, well. Isn't Farworld fun? I've noticed you share quite a few books with your husband -- I haven't done so till recently because our taste is so dissimilar, but we've started sharing a few business titles and it is such fun to be able to talk books with my husband!! I'm afraid he wouldn't touch a fantasy, though. Oh, well. That's what the kiddo is for. If the cat could read, I'm sure there'd be something we could share -- we're that kind of family. LOL


Thank you for visiting my blog! I use comment moderation because apparently my blog is a spam magnet. Don't worry. If you're not a robot, your comment will eventually show up and I will respond, with a few exceptions. If a comment smacks of advertising, contains a dubious link or is offensive, it will be deleted. I love to hear from real people! I'm a really chatty gal and I love your comments!