Warrior Quest: Search for the Ifa Scepter is the first book in Jason McCammon’s “The Ancient Lands” series. It was published in 2009 by Brown-Eyed Dreams, LLC. The paperback edition is 247 pages long. The series will be continued in The Adventures of Farra and Bomani, a completely illustrated novel, set to be published sometime in 2010.
When fifteen-year-old Bomani finds out that the Ifa Scepter must be found in order to save his kingdom, he sets out to on a journey to retrieve it—alone. But along the way, he picks up a companion; a cheerful, chatty, and annoying, young girl named Farra. She is a sorceress is just attaining her powers and has only just begun the sacred magical bond she shares with her wolf pup, Pupa. Together, the three of them journey to the “Forbidden Expanse,” a realm far beyond Bomani’s kingdom, where the Ifa Scepter is said to be located. Using their fighting skills, sorcery, and help from a few magical runes, the two work to evade ogres and the pursuit of the dark sorcerer, Hatari, with the hope that they will be able to restore life to Bomani’s kingdom.
I was thrilled to find out that I won this book from a giveaway on goodreads.com, and have to take a moment to applaud for McCammon. This book far exceeded my expectations (which were quite high, because the plot synopsis sounded exciting). I love and read a lot of fantasy, but I don’t think I can ever remember reading a fantasy book quite like this. The setting was original; based off of the savannahs in Africa, and set in its own pseudo-realistic world. It drew me in right away. Fast-paced with imaginative landscapes and creative creatures including flowers that bleed rainbow-colored liquid and shape-shifting ogres, Warrior Quest: Search for the Ifa Scepter was an excellent way to open up the world of Madunia to the reader.
Even though Search for the Ifa Scepter is really for kids between the ages of 9 and 15, readers of all ages will be able to enjoy it. Bomani and Farra’s adventures are almost episodic; every other chapter has them encountering something new, and conflicts are solved quickly without much emotional drama, even though Bomani is a bit of a jerk. Don’t get me wrong, the kid actually has reason to be cocky: between pole vaulting onto zebras' backs and fighting river worms, this kid can take on the world—especially when he teams up with Farra. Oh my spirits, I adored Farra! She’s adorable, and Bomani and Farra’s skills nicely complement one another, as do their opposite personalities. When she and her wolf pup, Pupa, enter Bomani’s life, he begins to change—as all jerkish heroes tend to do when they finally meet somebody willing to be their friend. McCammon does a good job of developing their relationship, and watching their friendship grow was just as exciting as seeing them escape from a volcano (which actually happens in this book).
All-in-all, it was nice to read a book like this after tackling novels like Kristin Cashore’s Fire and Suzanne Collin’s Mockingjay. Warrior Quest: Search for the Ifa Scepter is a good reminder to us all that you don’t have to have an incredibly complicated and dark plot in order to have fun reading.
Again, I'd like to offer a warm welcome to Corey, and a welcome to John Mac! Thanks for following Oktopus Ink!