Carlousia: The Passing of the Guard by E.G. Carter

Eddie Caskitt is filled with relief. The worries of moving into a new neighborhood, making friends, and starting a new school have been weighing him down. But after spending just a few minutes with the kids of Drayton Woods, Eddie realizes that the adventurous summer he was hoping for might just happen after all. Eddie hopes all the fun he anticipates will ease the pain of knowing his grandfather is dying.

With his last bit of strength before he passes away, Eddie 's grandfather whispers that he has left something for Eddie in his barn and that the tall tales he has been telling Eddie for years are true. With the help of a magic bracelet he finds inside a secret hole in the barn, Eddie and his two new friends, Dan and Scotty, enter a portal where they are suddenly thrust into roles guarding the world of Carlousia. Now the boys must conquer fear, outwit predators, unfold betrayal, and overthrow evil all while pretending everything is normal at home.

In this extraordinary adventure, three boys take a wild, coming-of-age journey that intertwines risk, honor, loyalty, and the kind of danger that unfortunately may lead to unimaginable loss.

Paperback, 340 pages Published August 29th 2012 by (first published November 15th 2011)  ISBN  1462055289 (ISBN13: 9781462055289)

Eddie is the new kid in town, but it seems that he's lucky to start off right away finding the perfect group of friends to hang out with and immediately begins great adventures for the Summer. But when his grandfather “pop” dies he finds out that he is the successor to enter the world of Carlousia, as his father passed by the opportunity years ago. It's a magical world of different peoples, lands and creatures.

When Eddie first makes the trip to Carlousia there is an overwhelming amount of information given to the reader to introduce us to the workings and rules, and of course it's people. We soon find that there is a war brewing and the prophecy says that it's Eddie that will be the Hero.

There were a couple things that distracted me from the feeling of true adventure while reading. It stood out to me that the author chose to make the main character 10 years old. I have never known a 10 year old to be as intelligent, emotionally guarded and protective as Eddie is. There was no difference in his IQ either in or out of Carlousia, completely baffling me as to why he wasn't 16 in the first place. As that age would be more reasonable to visualize them (Eddie and his friends) fighting in a war.

Another set back was the first half of the novel in which there was an overwhelming amount of info dumps given to the reader. As an example I have put one of the most confusing parts of the story in the link here. It is the explanation that Torgey gives to a 10 year old Eddie when first traveling to Carlousia regarding the age of successors entering Carlousia and the time frames they are allowed to stay. Mostly I am referring to pages 50-54.

At the point when Eddie and his friends fall through the waterfall and end up in Carlousia (40% into the story), was when I was able to sit back and enjoy the roller coaster adventures of Eddie and his friends in the magical and new world of Carlousia.

Upon reflection of the story I find similarities to the tales of Narnia. It's a highly imaginative world with a lot of danger and when the pacing kicks up it's something the reader will fly through to the end. An ending that also leaves us with much to look forward to in the sequel.

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