HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Andy Smithson: Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Book 5
Author: L. R. W. Lee
Cover Artist: Dale Robert Pease
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
Related website: http://www.lrwlee.com (author)
Language level: 2
(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)
Recommended reading level: Ages 14 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Lee, L. R. W. Andy Smithson: Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Book 5 (published in 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform). What does the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz have to do with Andy Smithson? Andy, who turns fourteen during the course of this book, lives in Lakehills, TX, with his dad, mom, and sister Madison. He is also the heir to the kingdom of Oomaldee which was put under a curse when the present King Hercalon V, who is now over 500 years old, stabbed his own sister Imogenia so that he could take the throne. One of Andy’s jobs is to collect the ingredients for a potion to break the curse. However, there is another problem. The evil Abbadon, king of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor Hadession, is trying to conquer the entire region. Abbadon steps up his attacks on Andy and his mom at home over the period of a year. Then, when Andy arrives back in Oomaldee, he learns that his special sword Methuselah may no longer be able to defeat his nemesis.
Still, Andy receives a clue for the fifth ingredient needed for the curse-breaking potion, the black claw of a griffin. One not-so-small problem is that griffins guard the land of Carta’s gold and silver mines and don’t take kindly to humans. He also finds out that restoring the various kingdoms’ centers of power might help stop Abaddon. While Andy and his friends are away in Carta, Abaddon captures the castle in Oomaldee, and the effectiveness of the strikes which defeat the military’s planned counter measures shows evidence that the enemy is getting inside information. Could there a spy in their midst? What can Andy do about the situation? And will he find the ingredient? There are a few childish slang terms but no bad language. It is said once that “Andy silently cursed” the sky, but no actual curse words are used, and Andy’s “inneru” (conscience) says, “Watch your mouth.”
As the age of Andy increases, so does the age of his intended readers. Some parents may feel that a few of the descriptions, such as the ride on the griffins, the air battle with the zolt, and the fighting at Castle Avalon, could be a little intense for younger readers. Also, a bit of innocent, typical, adolescent boy-girl activity, such as kissing, begins to occur. However, none of this involves anything that is inappropriate or objectionable. One of the admirable qualities that I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him and prepares himself eventually to become king, all the while knowing that the future may hold some very unpleasant consequences. The watchword for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is “courage.” One final warning—it ends very much up in the air so as to keep the reader’s interest at attention for the next installment.