In the spirit of a Lloyd Alexander adventure, The Legend of Witch Bane tells the tale of children who strive to save their world from evil, in the form of Queen Rhiannon Eldess. The tale includes a healthy mix of magic swords, goblins, dragons, sleeping spells, and other fantasy elements. The voice is both the book's weakest area -- changing direction and more apt to tell then "show" -- and strongest, being of storyteller quality -- "This is the part of the tale where an ancient and mighty race of people..come into the story".
That said, the explosive plot more then makes up for any weakness in voice. And the main characters -- three children -- demonstrate quite believable human characteristics, even though one character actually is part fairy.
In the story, the children - a boy named Kodobos, and one sister - journey from their home kingdom of Kaldan to track down their other sister, who had been taken by the evil High Queen Rhiannon Eldess, and to find "Witch Bane", the one sword that can defeat the evil queen and break the dark spell she has cast upon the land. In Hendrickson's story, one can easily spot the threads of Brothers Grimm, The Hobbit and other such worthy classics. Springing from these tales and from The Legend of Witch Bane, are legendary creatures such as elves, dwarves, goblins, and giants. The children overcome these, as well as more ordinary obstacles that children face everyday, including envy, confusion and fear.
Hendrickson, a first time novelist, has shown a talent for building a successful children's book in others ways, from contracting art talent (the book actually has interior art) to writing intriquing chapter titles ("In the Land of the Giants" "The Dream Cave" "A Duel of Wills"). And he wisely ends his tale with the suggestion of continuation, something today's readers demand. Looking forward to the sequel.
Review by M.