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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Anoroc by Bryan Kuderna is a highly entertaining coming-of-age fantasy novel. This compelling, well-written novel is set in a place called Anoroc and centers around Beeker, who is trying to make it in life, caught between being a kid and being an adult. He and his little brother Dak have to leave their familiar hut on the dusty Plains and move to the Mountains, but it's more their mother's choice to do so. She is a single mother, so they live with their Uncle Dobo in these Mountains. Dobo is a leader of the Militia and is famous for being a war hero. But Red Robes and White Robes are becoming increasingly at odds with each other, leaving Beeker, Dak, and their peers realizing that something in Anoroc needs to change, but there could be a price to pay.
Kuderna is a talented writer who wastes no time getting into the story, and the hearts and minds of his readers. This character-driven story will draw familiar parallels for the audience but offers new and dynamic ideas as well. This author's world-building skills and character development are obvious and plentiful, and the plot itself is irresistible in a fun, intriguing way. The descriptions are detailed, pulling you into the story and lives of the characters. You really become caught up in the conflicts, and there is no lag in the pacing; just an ending that satisfies (if not a little sad). I love the relationship between the brothers, and the bond with their mother, and the way Beeker has to learn new things by way of training with his uncle. So, you'll get to see good amounts of growth and change with the characters. I was relieved that Kuderna didn't keep us in the dark in the beginning about Beeker and Dak being furry creatures called Chigidies--he revealed this on the first few pages, which to me makes the perfect introduction to the characters and story. You'll find enough action and plot points to keep you invested until the end. If you're looking for an adventure-filled character-driven fantasy novel, Anoroc by Bryan Kuderna should be at the top of your to-read list.