Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: iUniverse (June 29, 2009)
Source: The author
A teenage boy. A dark wizard. A mystic scroll. And the fate of a world hangs in the balance. . . When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help young princess Dara save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies. Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a mighty African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk. Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord? The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.
Wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, but have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Princess Dara is just a little girl whose father just started training her in magic, so it's understandable that she accidentally summons the wrong "Axeman" as her protector. And Alex is just a teenager who soon finds out that this wild adventure is all too real. But I love how all those hours spent watching movies and playing video games pay off when Alex is able to predict what should happen next, and is usually right!
The teenage warriors they summon from one of his books are also amazing! While they are all heroes and mighty warriors, they are also still teenagers and I liked how Shiraz made them vulnerable at times. Enjoyed how they all picked up some of Alex's slang, as it's not every day a magical princess says "crap." *L*
I enjoyed Alex's struggle to survive his adventure and prove himself in a world surrounded by heroes. Liked how the warriors all learned to work together and started to become friends. Even liked the evil villains, as sometimes the bad guys can be disappointing, but not in this case! Thought the ending was a little abrupt, but looking forward to the second book so I can find out what happens next!
Gave this a 4/5 rating, as the story was enjoyable, the writing was very readable, it had likable characters, and I particularly liked that the pages looked like a scroll, which I thought was a nice touch.