HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2
Author: L. R. W. Lee
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014
Related website: http://www.lrwlee.com (author)
Language level: 2 (frequent references to cow farts)
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 9-13
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Lee, L. R. W. Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2 (published in 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC). How would you feel if you were called upon to risk your own life to save someone whom you admire? Eleven-year-old Andy Smithson lives with his dad and mother, both of whom are C.E.O.s of their own businesses, and his older sister Madison. In the first book of this series, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Andy is mysteriously transported to the kingdom of Oomaldee which, along with its King Hercalon V, is under a curse. The land is shrouded in perpetual fog, and the King, who is now around 500 years old, is doomed to live forever while those whom he loves pass on. Andy’s mission is to gather together all the ingredients which are needed to break the curse. In Book 1, he finds the first one and in the process defeats the dragon Abbadon, the enemy who is trying to conquer Oomaldee.
Nine months later, Andy returns to Oomaldee to get the second ingredient. What Andy doesn’t know, and learns in Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, is that the reason for the curse is that Hercalon had killed his older sister Imogenia so that he could take the throne. The King is now truly sorry for his act, but Imogenia’s spirit is in league with Abbadon to maintain her revenge and thwart Andy’s work. An additional problem develops in that the stone which gives Hercalon his immortality is stolen so that both he and his wizard Mermin become very ill. Thus, Andy must not only locate the second ingredient but also retrieve the stone. He determines that Abbadon must be behind the stone’s disappearance, so with the help of the friends from his previous visit, Alden, Hannah, Glaucin the merman, and the knight statues, he goes after his quest. But will he make it in time to save the King? And will he himself survive the venom of the serpent’s cunning?
I liked Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, and I like Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning. There is a strong good versus evil theme that underscores the plot of both books. They are nice, clean stories with no bad language but lots of exciting action and suspense. I will say that while it is intended for middle grade readers, due to certain features, such as the murder of Imogenia and the tragic death of a pixie helping Andy, I would consider the series more for older readers in that age level than younger ones. However, in addition to learning how to play Oscray, do sword fighting, and deal with a bellicose, Andy learns some other important lessons, such as the value of repentance and forgiveness and the need for making adjustments in his own attitude. Both of our boys really adored fantasy books with a medieval theme of knights and dragons, and these stories definitely fit that bill, so others likeminded should enjoy Andy Smithson. The next book in the series is due to come out in the fall of 2014.