Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite
Engaging Enchantment by Efran Myles is the first tale in The Legend of Lord Randall series. It begins with a bedtime story being told about how the Keeper got his magic. The story is told by their mother to nine-year-old Alyssa, and her little brother Andy. Since they share a room together, Alyssa is upset because she has to go to bed at eight o’clock, which is her brother’s bedtime. The children listen as their mother tells them about a princess that wants to elope with her true love, Darragh, because she doesn’t want to take part in an arranged marriage to Duke Concobhar. Given the charge of protecting young Princess Elysant is Captain Barwick, lifelong friend of Elysant and her brother.
The story takes a small turn when Barwick visits his great-uncle Melador: a magical druid that raised him before he entered the king's service. Barwick departs to meet his charge, with a magic charm and a brownie by the name of Bud Sparkembers that decides to tag along and sneaks on board the ship. The ship mysteriously comes to a halt, and the princess is whisked away by Darragh. Barwick helplessly watches as the love birds escape in the row boat. All seems hopeless until the ship is magically freed from the fish that were holding it motionless.
Efran Myles does a splendid job of the children interacting while their mother tells the story, arguing about whether or not a kissing part would be told, and other parts of the tale that the children disagree on when it comes to action, magic, or romance. The banter reminded me of the interaction of The Princess Bride. Engaging Enchantment is a smartly written story with a surprise agenda that works its way into a cliff hanger. The hook is sunk ... deep!