Review: The Fires of Calderon by Lindsay Cummings

The first book in an epic middle grade fantasy adventure series that takes place in an underground society at the center of the earth. Packed with action, humor, magic, and mystery.

After following a mysterious map into the woods and then under the woods, eleven-year-old Albert Flynn learns he’s a Balance Keeper—someone with special magical skills for fixing problems in three underground Realms at the Core of the earth. His new job is important; if the realms fall out of balance, the world above could be in great danger.

Albert and his Balance Keeper teammates Birdie and Leroy arrive in the Core not a moment too soon. There’s an Imbalance in the Calderon Realm and it’s threatening to bury Albert’s hometown of New York City in a mountain of ash.

The three must train hard completing mental and physical challenges, but above all, they must harness the power of their Tiles—unique superpowers given to each Balance Keeper. So far, Albert’s mastered the art of not mastering his Tile….

With the situation in Calderon growing worse every day, can Albert, Leroy, and Birdie restore balance before New York is destroyed forever? Will Albert master his Tile before it’s too late?

Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson, The Unwanteds, and the classic Journey to the Center of the Earth.

THE FIRES OF CALDERON was a read I was really looking forward to and wanted to enjoy. The entire series has a great premise behind it, which is partially what saved it for me.

This is a pretty good, fun story. Lots of Harry Potter references and a slow beginning, but after that the pace evens out and things really take off in a way I didn’t expect them to.
As for Percy Jackson and all that hype though, I wouldn’t really compare it to any other novel or set of novels other than HP, especially not Percy Jackson (coming from a diehard fan), but this series will be great for kids looking to get into those series or wanting some more real fantasy in the middle grade genre.
While the world building was really creative and the characters were a lot of fun to learn about, they just lacked a certain complexity for me at times. Then there was the classic middle grade fantasy storyline. This book has a lot of clichés plot and theme wise. Even so, it was still entertaining and I had a lot of fun with it. Cummings’s writing stands out even on the beaten path, but I was looking for something a little more out there. It is a book that I would recommend, but only to boys 9-11. 3 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 352

series: The Balance Keepers #1

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