By: Jude Gwynaire
Publisher: Prodigy Gold Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
ALIENS IN MY GARDEN takes ALDITHA the witch and HARPER (the talking, though not terribly bright owl) from their usual business serving the residents of the Garden on a path that pits them against SKOROS. The would-be evil wizard is useless at magic, great at engineering, has a brass wand, a smart alec who plans to take over the Garden. When a giant teacup lands in their world, they are introduced to CELESTE, a teenaged alien girl (who’s really much older than she looks) and ALPHA, her bio-mechanoid co-pilot, who looks like a typical Grey alien.
The book contains themes of friendship, acceptance, social pressure and the power of community, but above all, it tells an exciting epic story through believable characterization within a fantastic universe, with fast pacing and the effective use of humour.
I was given an eBook copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This is an honest spoiler-free review.
I absolutely loved this book. What’s not to love about a witch, her talking owl, a talking tree, a talking potato, a dark wizard, aliens, talking spell books and a flying teacup? It was an original and a beautifully told fantasy story that I think everyone would love, not just young adults.
The book takes place in The Garden. It is where all manner of creatures lives. There is Old Tom, the potato who loves to dig. Harper, Alditha’s talking owl friend and familiar. Oh, and he’s somewhat clumsy. There is the Green Man, the walking tree who lives in his own cottage and mostly keeps to himself, and of course, there is Alditha, a powerful, good witch, who looks after the garden, and Skoros, the evil wizard who seeks power. Although there is no ruler of the garden, Skoros seeks to take over and declare himself king.
I felt like the first 1/3 of the book was setting up for the pieces to fall in place. The characters were introduced, events happen, but none are connected right away. It was like a puzzle. Eventually everything falls into place and nothing is as it seems. As I mentioned, spoiler free!
When dealing with magic, it can often be a little tricky for authors to write without doing the standard witches, wizards, wands and spells. Yes, this book does have them all. However, it is done in such a clever way. Alditha does not have a wand. In fact, she finds it almost ridiculous that wizards seem to need a wand. She casts spells. How is this different? Skoros makes his wand using copper, gears, and rubies-he uses technology to power his wand and magic (which he naturally does not have much unlike Alditha). It’s certainly not the regular magical wand that is so often used in books. It’s the “old school” magic of Alditha versus the technology that Skoros relies heavily on for power. That was very clever and original.
A teacup arrives in The Garden by the Green Man’s cottage and out comes Celeste and Alpha. Celeste looks like a teenage girl, but is much older, while Alpha looks like the “standard” alien we always see in pictures. She has been looking for an uninhabited planet for her people, the Astarians, to call home. They assumed The Garden was uninhabited, but to their surprise, they find all the sentient residents of the gardens. Celeste was sent ahead to scout the planet and was very surprised to find so much life had evolved in 6,000 years. Now how that came about would be too much of a spoiler.
What ensues is a wonderful, humorous, and even sometimes sad tale of The Garden after the arrival of Celeste. Celeste learns about the residents of the garden and becomes friends with many, especially Alditha. Celeste has advanced technology. Alpha is not only her friend, but has vast knowledge she relies on for finding out about the Garden, it’s residents and many unfamiliar words they use. She is also searching for powerful orbs that were also sent out to scout the planet. Skoros manages to get some orbs, re-program them, and use them for his power to take over The Garden.
The meeting of magic and science was such and integral part of book. Alditha knows what she does is magic. Celeste says its technology and energy that she uses. What is the difference? If they both can accomplish the seemingly impossible, is there a difference between science and magic? As a scientist, this was such an interesting way to look at the magical fantasy part of the book. It was clever and refreshing. It made me wonder if science does look like magic.
Eventually the Astarians arrive, just as surprised at the sentient life that is there in the short period of time. Many are not happy as they assumed this planet was uninhabited. What are they to do? Destroy the life there and start over? It is not an option for them and they must all find a way to live together in peace. It is difficult as the residents of The Garden did not know of the existence of beings outside their world. The Astarians, not knowing these strange inhabitants, must also learn tolerance. Fantasy is wonderful. Fantasy with themes of friendship, acceptance, love, family and preserving the environment is even better.
This book was delightful! It had squigirrrlkes, frrinkles, a horse 2.0, Gungkin Pimplebutt, an oojamaflip, sigma energy and strawberry marshmallows. I was drawn in by the unique story. It made me laugh, kept me enthralled and even made me tear up. I really want to live in The Garden, with all its unusual residents, and the aliens, too.
I would rate this book 4 ½ stars.
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