304 pages, paperback
From the publisher:
Kaleo Steele is starting to cut seminary and hang out with some new “friends”; in fact, he’s not even sure what he believes anymore. When his seminary teacher finds him at the wrong place at the wrong time, Kaleo is in jeopardy of missing his high school team’s regional football game—a game where college scouts will be coming to see him play. But his seminary teacher realizes that much more than a game is at stake, and sends him on a soul-searching quest.
Guided by Ladan, a mysterious old blind man, Kaleo pushes through a battered wooden door only to find himself in Palmyra, New York, in the fall of 1827. Soon he is caught up in a battle between treasure seekers—led by Allaster Blackburn, a necromancer hired to steal the gold plates—and the young prophet Joseph Smith, who is sworn to keep them safe. In his quest to find a key that will send him back to his own time, Kaleo will have to decide what to believe. Before it’s too late.
Another hit! This fantasy is geared toward LDS boys, but girls will love it as well. The action and suspense was wonderful, the characterization was great. I felt Kaleo, especially, was very believable. When he's caught breaking the rules, he accepts his punishment and although he makes some bad decisions along the way, in the end, he's learned the lessons he needed to learn.
I loved the peek into history and the life of Joseph Smith. The writing was captivating and I was caught up in the story from page one. LDS theology and gospel concepts were blended into the story line in a way that did not overpower the action and forward movement. It was a good mix and done well without being preachy or heavy-handed.
One caution: Some readers will not care for the blending of fantasy with LDS Church history. As a general rule, I do not like that. However, if any book could change my mind about mixing fantasy and religion, it would be this one. I was not at all offended by the way it was handled.
I recommend this book to LDS youth, ages 12+ and to adults who enjoy YA fantasy.
*received a free ARC; plan to purchase final publication with my own money.