Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: Escape From the Forbidden Planet



Meet Caramel Cinnamon, an elf who lives in Cardeville on the planet Cardamom. Caramel’s bad accident when she was little has left her with a gammy leg, but that doesn’t stop her doing all kinds of things an elf of her age would do—such as spending two weeks visiting her
friend Jemm Jasmine in the tree canopy village and having loads of fun. But treachery and tragedy lie in store for the unsuspecting inhabitants of Cardamom.
The villainous Alexander222, an off-world explorer, along with his sidekick clone, Lex, arrive from the planet Isqwartz. His planet resource is crystal, but supplies are dwindling. They need a renewable resource to trade with other members of the Intergalactic Council. Cardamom is just perfect, especially when the properties of this amazing plant become evident.
Alexander222 is desperate to impress the Clone Council and get back into favor. The elves are betrayed by someone close to them, and things turn ugly. Caramel’s grandparents (the King and Queen of Cardamom) are kidnapped and Caramel recognizes their attacker. Before she can make trouble for him, Alexander222 dumps Caramel and her parents on the forbidden planet (Earth) that the Alexanders desperately try to avoid after a bad incident there (Roswell!). Although Earth isn’t as technologically advanced as Cardamom, Caramel and her parents make plans to rescue the King and Queen … until things go horribly awry! Now it’s up to Caramel to do it all on her own, with some help from her new Earth friends.

This is an enchanting fantasy tale to delight readers of all ages. Cardamom’s elves are not your ordinary fairy-tale elves. Science and technology rub shoulders comfortably with a twist of fantasy in this magical world. These elves have telepathic skills as well as healing talents. Caramel is not just an elf, she’s a princess, and she rises to meet the responsibilities thrust upon her with new-found inner strength and determination. Author Julie Anne Grasso has woven a wonderful story with all the elements to intrigue young readers and keep them turning those pages. There’s danger, a test of our heroine’s courage and resourcefulness, intergalactic travel, super-science, geek talk, and a mission to accomplish. Caramel is a lovely, real character, and touches such as her limp emphasize the importance of believing in yourself and being … well, yourself! Family relationships and friendships are also precious to the elves. There are some humorous touches parents will enjoy such as references to modern culture. Mentions of delicious food abound and one wonders why the author did NOT include the recipe for sticky date and chocolate cake with caramel cardamom syrup. (Pass the pudding please!) 5 Stars. Ages: 9+

Julie Anne Grasso is an Australian author with a background in paediatric nursing. She spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them. Add in some very funky technology, her love of science fiction and desire to impart great values through her little girl elf named Caramel and there
you have it, the Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy was the result. Julie lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle. Most days she can be found sipping chai lattes, chasing a toddler, and dreaming up wonderful worlds that often involve consumption of cupcakes. Visit her blog and book site for details of upcoming books.
 
Watch out for my book review on the next in the trilogy: Return to Cardamom (20 July) and Julie's Q and A (29 July).

by Fiona Ingram
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