Back in May, the author reached out to me on Instagram and asked if I’d be interested in reading his middle grade fantasy that had recently been translated from Sweedish. I said of course, but I only just got around to reading it (sorry Joseph!) Thank you so much for this copy in exchange for an honest review!
Adventures in Thousandworld: The Darkenstar by Joseph A. Davis, published by Eken Press, follows the perspective of twelve-year-old Julia. When a refugee boy, Kasir, shows up in Klippsby, Julia knows there’s something strange about him and the paintbrush he carries around. But when they are attacked by shadow monsters, she finally starts to realize how strange things really are. Along with her brother Edvin and the town drunk, Julia and Kasir travel to a new fantastical world–a world Kasir is from that is full of new cultures and languages, creative powers, and perils.
I adored this book. It fit the middle grade genre fantastically. I had no trouble believing Julia was a twelve-year-old girl who struggled with jealosy, self-doubt, and a desire to fit in, even when thrust into a new world. I love that kids around her age can read this and relate to her.
But I also loved the worldbuilding. It was interesting to see a land of “a thousand worlds” (hence the series title) where many things can be created. Kasir, for example, could create with his paintbrush, and this for a bit reminded me of Harold and the Purple Crayon but for an older age group.
There were also religious themes along the creators–just as the Great Creator made them, they were able to have the power to create on a smaller scale. As a Christian myself, I really appreciated the metaphor here, but for those who aren’t religous, they could still easily enjoy this book as the theme isn’t pushy. Rather, it’s encouraging all of us to look inside and find greatness in us. We are all capable and creative and worthy.
I love the plot took us through many different “worlds” and settings, seeing the action of children fighting monsters as well as their own insecurities. In fact, I find myself looking forward to reading the rest of the series once it is translated to English.
This was a five star read! Great for middle grade readers (ages 8-12) but also for all of us adults to soothe our inner child. What a great read!