Book Review and Guest Post: Fantasy Adventure with "Malketh and the Undead"
Malketh and the Undead, the second book in the Raven, Romda and Ravai series from Dave Maruszewski, is a rollicking thrill ride of an middle-grade fantasy adventure.
Though it is the second installment in the series, the author does provide enough background information to keep the reader from getting lost. That being said, reading the first novel will enrich the reader’s overall experience with the series.
As a reader who cut teeth on epic tales from JRR Tolkein, Malketh and the Undead, brings a hint of familiarity with its courageous heroes and sweeping adventures. Readers might draw parallels between the dark wizard Malketh and Tolkein’s Sauron as he twists magic to his will to raise an army of the dead. And, of course, It is up to the intrepid fellowship of heroes to save the day.
Maruszewski, however, pares down Tolkein’s style making Malketh and the Undead a more accessible read for 8–12-year-olds without sacrificing any of the pulse-pounding action, exciting adventure, or thoughtful themes. Maruszewski even manages to weave current issues into the storyline, opening a door for further exploration by readers, teachers, and parents. An engaging read for fans of fantasy and adventure.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
Malketh and the Undead (Raven, Romda and Ravai Book 2)
Publication Date: April 18, 2023
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy/Adventure
Raven, Romda and Ravai are settling into their new knightly duties well. With the Dark Beast defeated, their normal tasks almost seem mundane.
Amidst the boredom, Ravai asks, “Why does no one talk about villains from the past?”
Romda reasons, “What would be the point?”
There is a point. Even though villains may have been defeated in the past, they may still be around, waiting in the background ready to resurface once again.
Malketh has returned to the kingdom, but something is different about him this time. He is back with an entire army … an entire army of undead soldiers!
“Whether you want to read this aloud to your little one or let them explore this magical world on their own, parents can rest assured that this second installment in the Raven, Romda, and Ravai series will be a playful, whimsical addition to their bookshelves.”
–The Book Review Directory
“… the squires are appealing characters, as is their comical banter.”
- Blue Ink Review
Where do ideas come from?
I think there are two sources: themes and my son. When he was younger, I gave my son the option of what bad guys that he’d like to see in the book. He would then come up with a simple antagonist. He may add some ideas on what they want to do or what type of moods they will show. Then, I am off.
I also want to write about certain points that I would like to make. That’s where themes come in to play. The themes are fairly soft such that I don’t hit people over the head with them. Instead, I try to pose them as topics to try to get the reader thinking.
The nice thing is that when I come up with these themes, the story tends to tumble out. Almost every context can use a set of themes. For example, I may want to talk on how people handle criticism. That can permeate in a simple conversation between characters. It can also come up in the context of decisions that about the future of the kingdom. How about in the way they handle a villain? It’s all there!
In some cases, I might need an overall concept that I may want to employ, like having a tandem of antagonists. However, once I have a starting point with who I want to be the antagonist, and what themes that I want to bounce around, the book writing starts to flow smoother. Many times, I will just let the dialogue flow after that construct.
Dave Maruszewski is blessed with a great family. He was originally inspired to write stories by his wife and son.
He strives to develop stories with sound moral values that will be enlightening as well as entertaining to youths and adults. The Raven, Romda and Ravai books are targeted especially for children who shy away from reading. His stories are created from an accumulation of experience from careers/backgrounds as a physicist, engineer, teacher, artist, video game designer and software developer.
In between writing stories and running his own company, Digital Tumult (DigitalTumult.com), Dave enjoys video games, watching internet videos and hanging out with his family.
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