James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian

The Dreadful Series

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
280 Pages
Reviewed on 07/12/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite

If you are ready to immerse yourself in a world full of goblins, witches, fairies, and magic, then James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian is the book for you. When we first meet James, he is living a typical teenage life with his adoptive parents. His grandfather, who was a magician, has been locked away after a fiery mishap. One day he returns and informs James that it is time for James to leave, not just his parents but earth. He needs to return Nobrocoso, his true home. Then things get interesting as James is thrust into a magical world filled with unusual creatures and places. He also discovers more about his parents, including the fact that his father was the evil sorcerer Jack Dreadful.

James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian by Alan Creed will be loved by fans of magic and fantasy. Creed has created a multi-layered world in Nobrocoso. His vivid descriptions of the dungeon, castle, and swamp transport you completely into that world. The fast-paced action and terrifically horrible descriptions of the ogres and other creatures play like a movie in your mind's eye. Creed has created a cast of fully realized characters that range from Jack to the gnome Quizlow. One of the most magical parts for me was Jack discovering his power with the magic carpet, Rimbecella. I truly enjoyed being swept along into a world full of adventure and intrigue. James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian is a fantasy lover's delight. Fans will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

Pikasho Deka

James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian is a young adult fantasy adventure novel and the first book of Alan Creed's The Dreadful Series. Fourteen-year-old James Brady's life turns upside down when his infamous grandfather, Arthur Dreadful, escapes from a mental asylum and arrives unannounced at his house. James learns from his grandfather that the Dreadfuls were a family of powerful sorcerers from the world of Nobrocoso, a land where his father used to be a Dark Lord. Soon, James and Arthur are forced to split when agents sent by Wozigod attack their party on their way to Nobrocoso. With a boy named Cat as his companion alongside the gnome Quizlow, James must now navigate treacherous lands and seek his Spellfather to learn the ways of magic.

James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian is a high fantasy rollercoaster of a ride filled with gnomes, djinns, and a plethora of other magical creatures. With a vivid imagination, author Alan Creed crafts an entertaining yarn about a teenager discovering a magical world and coming to terms with fulfilling his destiny. The characters are colorful with distinct quirks to make them memorable. James, Quizlow, and Cat were my personal favorites. For some reason, James and Arthur's dynamic reminded me of Rick and Morty's relationship from the animated series Rick and Morty. There are lots of magical terms in the book, but Alan Creed does a decent job of acclimatizing the reader with them. If you're into young adult fantasy books, check out James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian.

Rabia Tanveer

James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian is the first novel in The Dreadful Series by Alan Creed. James Dreadful is not your typical 14-year-old boy. He may live in a town in Colorado, but that is not where he came from. James was just three when he came to earth from the mystical land of Nobrocoso so he could stay alive after his parents died. He was living a peaceful life when it was all shattered by an evil goblin who wanted something from James. Apparently, James’s father, Jack Dreadful, was a Dark Lord, and his secret book contained secrets that the evilest of beings would kill to get. And they would not hesitate to kill James if it came down to that. As James got to know more about his father, he realized he might have to pay for his father’s sins with his life. Was there any saving for James? Or was he destined to become the next Dark Lord?

James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian is the perfect example of young adult epic fantasy novels that I enjoy. It had the right balance of action, fantasy, and adventure. Alan Creed added the right amount of suspense and mystery to the story to make it interesting. I wanted to know more about James, Nobrocoso, and his father. The story gave me Percy Jackson vibes without adding the Greek mythology, and I loved that. James was sassy, smart, and very interesting. He enjoyed the thrill and the chase, but that scared him as well. He did not want to end up like his father, yet the temptation was there. The author adds a lot of excitement by pacing the story right and adding vivid descriptions. I would recommend it to readers of all ages! Fun and entertaining.

Liz Konkel

James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian by Alan Creed is the first book in the Dreadful series. James' reputation has always been the subject of conversation thanks to his childhood living in the house of his grandfather, Mr. Dreadful, who happened to be a magician. James briefly saw popularity until his grandfather went crazy and set the house on fire. Mr. Dreadful was convinced a magical world called Nobrocoso truly existed. After that everything changed and everyone treated him differently. James doesn't know much about his own past or his biological parents but then his grandfather shows up at his adopted parents' house and whisks him away to Nobrocoso where he discovers surprising truths about his own past. The adventures that await him include learning that his father was a Dark Lord that led a great war and has left Nobrocosco haunted by his actions, which place James in a dangerous position.

The story begins with James as an ordinary boy with a haunted past which Alan Creed uses to weave in small details that hint at the greater story set to unfold. James' journey begins in history class which sets the stage for his own exciting adventures that await him with foreshadowing about the world of Nobrocoso. The magical world offers an assortment of beings from djinns to flying carpets that James and his new companions encounter along their journey. The opening also sets up the journey of self-discovery that James takes, going from the boy with the iffy reputation to a boy charting his own path under his father's dark legacy. The action is naturally woven into the adventure, thanks to the lush and rich world that Creed has created.

An epic fantasy tale is only as strong as its world and Nobroscoso provides the perfect setting for James and his new friends to take on obstacles, struggles, and adventures. The details of the world are vivid and contain a rich variety of personalities that brings the aesthetics of the world to life. The story has an assortment of eccentricities throughout from the flying carpet to the rat James names Mashed Potatoes to the unique characters he encounters. Each of these elements provides humor within the world that makes it entirely Alan Creed's own creation. An epic fantasy that comes to life in James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian is the perfect young adult read with action, adventure, and magic in a coming-of-age journey that finds a teenager charting a course separate from the legacy left by his father.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“We are living in the Age of Stupid,” James’ grandfather explains, describing planet Earth where James had been sheltered for his own safety since the age of three. James was astounded to learn that his grandfather (whom he hadn’t seen since he was five) was the magician the world knew as Mr. Dreadful, had escaped the insane asylum, and was coming for him. Not only that, his grandfather was set on kidnapping James and escorting him back to his home in Nobrocoso, where myths and magic abound. Obviously, James was not who he thought he was and his life was going to get increasingly more bizarre and dangerous as he faced the powers of evil and a threat that might cost him more than just his life.

Alan Creed’s young adult fantasy novel, James Dreadful and the Spell-Guardian (The Dreadful Series), is an engaging and exciting read. A mix of the fantasy we’ve come to appreciate in Harry Potter, Star Wars, and many other fantastical works, the author has woven a plot full of intrigue, magic, myths, and so much more. The adventure begins with James being confronted by his history teacher and, as some of his personal backstory is revealed, he escapes the accusations of the teacher to his adoptive home and confronts the mad magician, recently escaped – his grandfather. If this wasn’t fascinating enough, the plot thickens and accelerates with great excitement as James must confront not only his grandfather but his past and a world so different from the one his grandfather described as living in the “Age of Stupid.” There are some quirky moments and scenes, but this adventure is fast-paced and will have young readers captivated to the very end. Great descriptive narrative, good backstory introduction, compelling and believable dialogue, and overall great writing, this is a classic fantasy adventure.