Compass to Vinland

Children - Grade 4th-6th
260 Pages
Reviewed on 10/29/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite

Compass to Vinland by Dani Resh is an engrossing magical tale. Wren is a teen who lives with his father in a house shaped like a shoe. Every day he feeds the crows and tends the plants in his greenhouse before heading to school. He also regularly visits his mother who is in a coma. One day strange things start to happen. He thinks he sees his dead aunt on the way to school and Maria, the new girl in school, acts as if she knows him. Then he discovers that the locked trunk in his father's room leads to a hidden workshop beneath his house! Soon he, Maria, and Rusty, the resident bad boy at school, are entwined in an unforgettable adventure.

Compass to Vinland was a book I couldn't put down. Dani Resh does an outstanding job of developing all her characters. Her writing pulled me in right away with the description of Wren and his daily routine, taking care of the birds and plants, and the distance he feels from his dad. Then the exciting and intriguing adventure starts, and the action doesn't stop. As a former children's librarian, I would definitely recommend this to kids that loved Harry Potter or Septimus Heap. Resh has created a unique world filled with characters we care about, strange creatures, new lands, and unusual magical powers. I am eagerly waiting to read the next book in the series. Compass to Vinland has it all: magic, adventure, villains, and heroes. I highly recommend this book!

Pikasho Deka

Compass to Vinland is an adventure fantasy novel written by Dani Resh. Wren Larkin feels invisible amongst the inhabitants of his hometown, Lewisberry, with a mother who has been in a coma since he was four and a seemingly disinterested father. But his life turns upside down when he becomes friends with the town bad boy, Rusty, and Maria, a new student in his school. Together, the friends discover a hidden room underneath Wren's house where his grandfather stored three shoes inscribed with their names. When Drainers attack his house, seeking the shoes, Wren finds himself embroiled in a larger conspiracy involving Unbreakable magic that forces him and his friends to flee to the settlement of Underfoot. Now, Wren must stand with his allies against the Wrathful before they wreak havoc.

Author Dani Resh takes you on a wild rollercoaster of a ride that you don't want to get off. Compass to Vinland is an invigorating adventure odyssey full of magic and charm that keeps you entertained all the way through. Moving at a blistering pace, the plot twists and turns in unexpected ways, keeping you engaged and making you turn the pages with eager anticipation of what's to come. The characters are full of life, with distinct personalities that make for some compelling character arcs. I adored Wren, Maria, and Rusty's friendship, and the dynamic between the three propels the narrative forward. Compass to Vinland is a book that kids of all ages should be able to enjoy. If you love shows like Stranger Things, give it a go.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Wren’s not the most popular boy in town. It doesn’t help that he’s so thin and tall and he lives in a house that looks like an old shoe. He hates school, especially the teacher, but he loves his birds, making birdhouses, and growing things in his greenhouse. Things start to change when a new girl moves to town. Maria seems to know him before she’s even introduced. And the other misfit, Rusty, considered by many to be a bad boy, really was very insightful and trusting. The three bond together as if it were meant to be, and when they find three pairs of shoes hidden under the heel of Wren’s shoe house, life becomes quite magical and unexpected. There is evil on the children’s trail, an evil that has designs for these shoes as they have magical powers meant only for the children. And, there is a heritage that Wren is about to discover, a journey to another reality that will help him learn who he really is.

Dani Resh’s fantasy novel, Compass to Vinland, is the first book in a middle-grade fantasy series. Told in the first-person narrative from Wren’s point of view, the plot is full of captivating twists and turns and the dynamics between the young people are so realistic, young readers will instantly relate. There are all manner of characters one would expect to find in a middle-grade school setting: bullies and those who are bullied, those who wish and try to remain invisible, mean teachers, team leaders, evildoers, dysfunctional adults and so much more. This makes the story very realistic. The compass, interestingly, is more than a treasure. A tool to guide young people, it's a metaphor for life itself and where it will take us. Fascinating concept. The descriptive narrative is full of interesting details. Dialogue breaks up the lengthy narrative passages and helps move the story along. This book will definitely appeal to the older middle-grade audience.