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The Oak Hotel, by Walter G. Klimczak
Genre: Children Fantasy
Publisher: Autumn Harbor Press
Published: 2008
Review Posted: 8/25/2009
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 8 out of 10

The Oak Hotel, by Walter G. Klimczak

Book Review by Paul Weiss

Have you read this book?

Thoroughly enjoyable young adult fantasy!

It all started with a simple weekend outing.

Two young friends, Kayleigh Lambert and Lincoln Torres, are going on a scavenger hunt through Kayleigh's grandmother's house. Her parents have to sell the old house by Christmas and they told Kayleigh that the big stuff had to go but she was welcome to look around and keep anything else she found. What they found was the gate to an adventure the likes of which they could never have imagined.

In an old stained baker's box hidden inside a wooden soda crate, Lincoln and Kayleigh discover five notebooks, the personal journals of Kayleigh's grandmother, Laura Corwin. One of the journals makes reference to a magical book that had been borrowed from the local library. A little investigative work with the local librarian reveals that the title of this missing book was "The History of Burnam Tau'roh".

When they returned to grandmother's house, they finally find the missing book hidden inside a false cover. But they are horrified to realize that somebody else, who is clearly up to no good and whose intentions certainly don't bode well for their future health, are also inside the house desperately searching for the very book that they had just found.

Just as discovery is imminent and the prospects for Kayleigh's and Lincoln's continued good health look very bleak, the last page of the book seems to offer an avenue of escape.

Well, to go further would be to enter into the area of spoilers. But, it is safe to say that Klimczak has written an exciting fantasy aimed at a young adult audience that will also appeal to fantasy fans of all ages.

Good vs evil; sentient oak forests; a computerized railway line with no conductor, no engineer and no apparent destination that seems to be able to communicate to its passengers; mystical travel portals that can whisk passengers millions of miles to unknown distant planets; hereditary royalty - "The Oak Hotel" has got anything a fantasy lover might imagine.

I'll admit that, as I read the first few chapters, I initially underestimated "The Oak Hotel" and thought it was a little too simplistic to appeal to anyone beyond young children. But that first impression rapidly changed as Klimczak skillfully built a richly detailed plot, suspense, characters and a complex story universe that spanned at least three worlds with more possibly to come.

"The Oak Hotel", a scant 115 pages long, ends on a cruel cliff-hanger and is clearly the first novel in a planned series. I plan to re-read "The Oak Hotel" to make sure I give it its fair due from the first page and pick up all the details. Then I intend to hunt for the next book in the series. Highly recommended.

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