"UNCOVERING COBBOGOTH," by Hannah L. Clark, illustrations by Rebekah G. Shakespear, Cedar Fort, $17.99, 320 pages (f) (13 and up)
"Uncovering Cobbogoth" is an Icelandic tale that will appeal to many Harry Potter series fans in that it has magic, demons, secrets and surprises that involve a crystal city built beneath a volcano.
After Norah Lukens' Uncle Jack is murdered, she is asked to translate some of his archaeology research to look for clues. And many of them lead to a "mythical" crystal city called Cobbogoth.
There are unexplained events and awakenings where Norah doesn't know where she's been or what's happened. She does know she is gifted and her parents died when she was a baby, which is a familiar story line.
Along with some similarities to the series about a boy wizard, it also feels a little like entering the books about vampires and boyfriends.
She has a boyfriend who inexplicably disappears and withdraws from her (for her own good) one moment while he's kind and loving the next.
There are "hoption holes" that act like portals and magic stones that vibrate, heal, regenerate bone and change a person's soul. Evil beings can take over human bodies and shapeshifters known as dogrils are to be feared.
Underpinning the story is an ancient story translated from Old Norse writings that talks about a prophetess known as Totherma who appears in dreams to guide Norah's way from time to time. The story also includes twins Philessnie and Cifer and is akin to the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible.
Magic symbols are part of this and are somewhat intriguing. Nobody is quite what he or she appears to be.
Danger is everywhere but so are characters, like Lylend, who appear to know what's going on and why Norah needs to flee after her Uncle Jack is murdered.
Norah is befriended, then betrayed, lost in a whirlpool, then saved, jailed, then transported to safety.
The story is rich and it moves along at a good pace — and requires that the reader pays strict attention.
The language is clean and the romantic elements don't go beyond kissing, but there's quite a bit of peril, pain and scariness.
For those who've missed the Harry Potter world, here's a pretty good alternative.
If you go ...
What: Hannah L. Clark and Rebekah G. Shakespear book signing
When: Friday, May 16, 6-8 p.m.
Where: The Manor's Garden Room in the Shops at Riverwood, 4801 N. University Ave., Suite 370, Provo
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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