Keeper of the Island by H.J. Ralles

 

ChildrenScience FictionKeeper of the Island (Keeper) Keeper of the IslandH. J. Ralles; Top 2007WorldCat

Review by Molly

“Ugh!  I think I’m going to be sick!”  Matt Hammond is laying on the floor holding his stomach while trying to figure out where he is and how he got here.  The last thing he remembers was moving to the next level on the computer game “Keeper of the Kingdom.” Not on the ship but up in a tree is Targon who is a citizen of the Kingdom of Zaul 2540 AD, on the ground below is Varl, where has that computer game landed them this time. Every level of Matt’s computer game they reach takes place in 2540 AD, even though Matt is from 2010.

Something strange is going on; the computer game is certain to be at the core of the state of affairs Targon, Varl and Matt find themselves encountering. From the jolly boat in which he had been hidden Matt is hauled onto the deck of the square rigger-captained by Persivius Scarr. Matt is first a prisoner onboard the pirate ship Dreamseeker and then a “tourist” exploring the ship. Cap’n Scarr explains that the Dreamseeker goes from port to port offering tours of the ship and educating the local folk about old sailing vessels and pirates. Cpt. Scarr questions Matt, decides he is harmless and then orders him from the ship with the group of tourists who are finishing up their exploration of the ship. Matt cannot leave until he retrieves his laptop.

Voices sound, the singing of pirates is heard, Varl and Targon listen as Skimmy McFinn and Billy Rogers talk about the boy they have in the brig of their ship. On the island of Moji Targon and Varl come to a fork in the trail, the pirates are on the move, voracious mosquitoes become more annoying, hidden booty, an ancient burial site, and that is just the beginning.

As for Matt, once freed by the Cap’n and told to go ashore he hides himself in an effort to retrieve his laptop computer dropped when he was removed from the jolly boat. It is while hiding that he overhears the Cap’n and his cohorts planning something. Just what they are planning Matt is not certain. Just in time Matt locates a change of clothes to help him blend in with the ship’s crew. When Varl disappears Targon is left confused and on his own. A chance meeting with Gabriela, an inhabitant of the island of Moji and daughter of the mayor of Puebla Verde proves helpful.

Author H J Ralles continues her popular “Keeper” series with Keeper of the Island. The series is based upon an imaginative premise; what will happen should a player actually become part of the game underway on a computer. Matt Hammond has made his way from adventure to adventure and is now on Level 5 where the spirit of Queen Elena serves as the Gate Keeper of Balamachu. Without the password she will not open the burial chamber. In Level 5 Matt will straighten out a maze of islanders, pirates, pirate ships that are not what they appear, mutineers, and even federal agents. In the spellbinding concluding volume of the Keeper series, the reader will learn all the secrets of Matt’s computer game.

On the pages of Keeper of the IslandRalles adroitly plaits a magnetic tale including greedy pirates, ancient pyramids, and a tropical island. Matt, Targon and Varl must figure out who the good guys are and whether they can trust anyone. Writer Ralles crafts a stimulating storyline that sets good against wicked placed against a backdrop of keen-witted dialog, fast paced action and captivating milieu filled with tropical venues and a vast array of characters. Cpt. Scarr, Skimmy McFinn, Billy Rogers, Hawkeye William Hawkins, Bart, Targon, Varl are a well fleshed, believable and interesting melange of players. Keeper of the Island is a must have for the personal reading shelf, the class and school library for readers of the target middle grade readers. This book is one I will be taking to my 4th grade classroom when school resumes in the fall.

More books by H.J. Ralles

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