FAR WORLD: Water Keep by : J Scott Savage
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (September 12, 2008)
Amazon Product Description
Marcus is no ordinary thirteen year old. He knows he has some special gifts. In fact, he might be the only kid on Earth how can turn invisible when his life depends on it. And sometimes that comes in handy for a kid who's confined to a wheelchair and picked on by bullies.
Then there's Kyja. She's anything but extraordinary. At least, that's what she thinks when she compares herself to her magical friends on Farworld. Kyja has tried to learn the magic her friends know, but sometimes it feels like she's from a different place- a different world.
Earth and Farworld have a special link, and Marcus and Kyja are about to discover a secret that binds them together- a secret that protected and perserved both of them. But the time has come for them to reconnect and fulfill their destinies.
Together, they discover their weakness are really their strengths as they search for four elemental beings- Water, Land, Wind and Fire- to help them save both worlds from an evil enemy.
There's a lot that could be said about this up and comming new Young Adult book, but I've got to be careful not to give away more than necessary, so that when you buy this book (and you really should!) you'll have plenty of surprises!
J. Scott Savage has the beginning of a really excellent series here.
Why do I think it's good? Well for one (and as far as I'm concerned the most important), are the characters! He has taken what is normal in many YA books and managed to put a new twist on them. They aren't just orphans or runaways as many YA books are... these kids are special. They have adversities to overcome.
Marcus, one of the lead characters, has a leg and an arm that are twisted and pretty useless. He gets around in a wheelchair. The kids at school call him a freak.
Kyja is a young girl on another planet. A planet of much magic. The problem is: she can't do magic! She thinks of herself as an outcast, a person of no abilities.
Nothing like giving the leading characters more than their fair share of difficulties to deal with eh?!... but deal they do! Thankfully they get a little help from Master Therapass, a wizard on Kyja's planet, who just happens to know about both of these kids, even though they don't even exist on the same planet.
Then there's Kyja's little sidekick Riph Raph. Riph Raph is a Skyte. He deems himself as large and mighty... but when he's on earth he becomes a chameleon! (not so big.. not so mighty) ..and a different time he becomes... a chicken! (yes, you read it right! A lowly chicken!) Needless to say Riph Raph doesn't think much of Earth!
Then there's the bad guys. It wouldn't be an adventure without the bad guys! There's Bonesplitter (not a nice fellow at all) and his cast of horrors... big (really big!) black snakes and the undead. Yuck, trust me.. no one you'd want to meet in a dark alley... or anywhere else!
As for their Quest? Oh.. well, all they have to do is seek help from someone or something from each of the main mythical Elementals—water, land, air, and fire—and convince them to open a drift between Earth and Farworld.
Simple right? ahhh well... I think Marcus and Kyja would think differently!
J. Scott Savage has created two interesting and very likeable protaginists and an equally adventurous story line to go along with them! As you can tell by the title of book 1 Far World: Water Keep, this one concerns the element of Water. And if I count on my fingers correctly, there are three other elements, before he can write his final installment. ( He has said on his blog there would be 5 books)
I enjoyed this book.. it is filled with interesting characters and a good story, and written in a manner that is very acceptable to adults, I might add! And although I hate waiting, (and will probably curse him quite a bit over time) I do believe his future books will be worth waiting for!
I will certainly purchase the hard back, when it's released, to give to my grandson. (my arc is autographed so you can't pry that from my hands!)
As for a recommendation? Well, if you should choose to read this book (and I recommend you do!)...you won't be disappointed.... I certainly wasn't!
I have been granted an interview with J Scott Savage... so, now it's time to get to know the Author!!.....
It has been such a pleasure getting to know J. Scott Savage. I was visiting his blog regularly when I discovered that at one (young) point in his life he lived in the very same little town that I grew up in! That made me feel even a little closer to him... but as I said, I was already a regular. And so when he offered the ARC of his book and to be available for interviews, I knew I wanted to help him as much as I could.
Unfortunately, I don't have a huge amount of folks that read my blog, but for those nice folks that do, I hope you enjoy this interview, and that you enjoy Far World: Water Keep when it is released on September 12, 2008.
DesLily: So that we might get to know you personally: tell us 5 of your favorite movies and 5 of your all time favorite books.
Scott: Nothing like starting me with a hard one. Okay, assuming I can count trilogies as one:
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Rocky 1-3 only
And Heart & Souls as my romantic pick
Thomas Covenant Series by Donaldson
The Stand by King
Shadowlands by Straub
Enders Game by Card
And as my off the wall pick the collected poems of Robert W Service
(Wow! Thomas Covenant?? I have all the books! Love them! … I love Saltheart Foamfollower!)
DesLily: What are your other passions besides writing?
Scott: Number one is my family. We have this weird thing at our family where the highest form of flattery is laughter and so everyone is always trying to make the other family members laugh. I love just hanging out with the gang.
Number two has to be reading. I know I would never have been a writer if it wasn’t for my love of the written word. I can’t remember the last time I went to bed, got on an airplane, or went anywhere requiring a wait without a book in my hand.
Three would be the outdoors. I don’t care if it’s the beach, the mountains, the desert. There is just something so cool about experiencing the early morning with only the world in sight. No people.
And last—although there are lots more I could list—let’s go with anything Disney.
(I should probably mention my faith as well. And it would go much higher on the list, but that’s such a personal thing for each person that you kind of have to skip it without risking offending someone.)
DesLily: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Scott: When I got the phone call saying, “We want to publish your book.” I know that sounds weird, but up until someone actually offered to pay me for a piece of work, I didn’t believe I could be a writer. I mean, I knew I could write and that I loved to do it. So I guess I always was a writer. But actually calling myself a writer and identifying myself as a writer—I always thought those were people that had something I didn’t.
DesLily: If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be?
Scott: Cranky? Hmm, is Bard still a viable option these days? Well, I really like creating things that make people go, “Wow!” My youngest brother and I were very big into making haunted houses, and rides consisting of pulleys, wheels, boxes, rope, and often surprise breakdowns. So I’d have to say a Disney Imagineer.
DesLily: With so many YA books being made into movies do you find your writing starting to lean towards how your story would look on film?
Scott: What, you mean just because I included all those super heroes and named my main character Tom Hanks? No. I really don’t. I definitely see the story clearly inside my head. I can picture every scene and character so clearly it feels like I have watched it all as a movie. But when I’m writing the story, I never think, “Oh, this would make a great movie scene.” In fact, I was told that Marcus’s disability might make it more difficult to make this series into a movie. But for me, that’s so far down the list it’s not even a consideration. I wanted to write the best story I can, and if it gets made into a movie that would just be icing on the cake.
DesLily: Although, both are important to a book, which do you enjoy more, character building or world building?
Scott: Royalties. Definitely royalties. Just kidding. I start with characters, because that’s the way stories come to me. Then I drop them into a world and see what happens. I think that the world can be the coolest thing ever, but if you don’t have characters you truly care about, nothing else matters. On the other hand, once you have good characters, you can have a ball by placing them into unexpected worlds.
DesLily: This is probably a dumb question, but is the character of Marcus named after your brother Mark?
Scott: Ha! You are insightful. No one else has asked me that question. As I mention in theacknowledgements,my youngest brother Mark has always wanted me to write a fantasy novel. When he and my kid sister, Kathy, were little, I read to them all the time. And I madeup lots of stories for them. Farworld was originally a story I made up just for Mark, so I made the main character Marcus, even though the two of them don’t have a lot in common. But I liked the name, so it stuck. See, not a dumb question at all!
DesLily: Was there ever a time while you were editing your own writing that you felt like, if you changed one more thing it wouldn’t be the story you started with?
Scott: There wasn’t a time when I didn’t want to edit anymore. I love editing. I love seeing something not quite right become good, and something good become even better. But occasionally you run into a situation where the editor wants one thing, but as a writer you feel strongly that it would hurt the story. The nice thing is that there is almost always a middle ground that everyone agrees with.
DesLily: Expand a bit on your choice to give the two main characters of Marcus and Kayja such difficulties to overcome.
Scott: I was just discussing this with my ten year old son the other day. He had gone to a track meet for the first time without any kind of training, and came in last in one of his races. I asked him what he thought he could take from said. Of course he said something like, “I suck at running.” Then I pointed out to him many famous people who started with a weakness and turned it into a strength. If he had come in first or middle of the pack, would he feel as strong a desire to excel?
It seems to be lately that a lot of books are about kidswho start out with a setback but discover they are the best at. . . magic, superpowers, summoning monsters, or whatever. Of course we love to see someone bereally good at what they do—especially when they have always viewed themselves as outcasts. But what about the person who faces extreme odds without being the best at what they do? That’s a lot more like we most of us face. And in my opinion it’s that much more exciting when the bad guys have the strength and the numbers. It will be interestingto see how the disadvantages Marcus and Kyja face can become their biggest strengths or their biggest weakness.
DesLily: Didyou have all the (proposed ) 5 books written indraft before you tried to sell book one? Or did you only have book one done and maybe an outline for the others???
Scott: Just in my head. But I do have some very detailed plans for each book. It’s great to write a book knowing you are setting things up for down the road. That’s a luxery a lot of authors don’t have, because they don’t know for sure that there will be a next book.
DesLily: Is there a question you wantedto be asked that hasn’t been asked yet?
Scott: No one has asked about my most embarrassing moment or anything like that, which is good. But I’m also more surprised people haven’t asked more questions about specific aspects of the book. Why does this happen? How does that work? Either I did a good job at explaining, they don’t care, or they’re afraid of creating spoilers. I’ll hope it’s the first.
DesLily: How long does your publisher give you to have the next book ready for publishing? (in other words: just how long do I have to wait for the next book??? )
Scott: The goal is to turn in the first draft of book two by the time book one comes out. I think we are looking to have one book a year at about the same time. But that could change.
Thanks for the great questions!
DesLily: The pleasure is all mine! Now that we are such good friends I feel I can talk to you.... so... What are you doing reading this when you should be writing?!!! I am ready for book 2 !! Don't make me borrow Indiana Jones's Whip!