This novel is a rather special take on a standard, “Teenager Who Finds Out Why She’s an Outsider” plotline. Special in that, in spite of the fact that this is Fantasy, the main character is very realistic. I mean, think about it. The kind of character who is usually the hero of this sort of story is a loser, a loner and basically antisocial. Which I Agatha is, in spades. To expect this sort of person to turn around and become a hero overnight is the greatest suspension of disbelief asked of any reader. And Agatha refuses. She is unloved, insecure, and neglected, and she clings to her upbringing through all the wonderful things that happen to her when she is taken to the magical world of Ashra.
Turn her into a hero and a knight? Not likely. She’s never heard of anything so ridiculous, and she isn’t afraid to tell anyone. In fact, her stubborn refusal to meekly accept all the changes forced upon her is the main evidence we have that she will eventually succeed. This girl may be insecure and out of shape, but she is tough inside.
As for the other characters, well, who is her main magical sidekick? Jonah the Knight Crawler. Where does he sleep? Under her bed, of course. Did I mention a healthy dose of subtle humour that runs through this story?
Anyway, in the process of learning about her heritage and the tasks she is expected to learn, there are a whole lot of people telling her that she doesn’t know enough to understand, so they can’t really tell her anything yet, and that she’s not in any way ready for the task ahead of her, which is probably what most teenagers hear a whole lot too much of. So I imagine the target audience for this story will empathize with her even more than I do. Which is quite a lot. Especially when to top it all off, they give her a pegasus. A carnivorous one. Which scares the heck out of her.
The rest of the novel is taken up with detailed world building and character creation. There is a certain amount of physical action (including a fight with a sea monster) but by far the most important action takes place in Agatha’s head, as she gradually comes around to accepting what she will become.
Which she hasn’t done by the end of Book 1. This is a serialized novel, and you’ll have to move on to Book 2, “The Lost Girl,” in order to find out what happens to her next.
Highly recommended for Fantasy readers with a dash of sense.