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Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite
In Andrew Smith's Jon Ridley: The Beginning, seventeen-year-old Jon Ridley was always amazed when it seemed people knew his name. He wanted nothing more than to get home, but the longer he traveled the hazier his memories became. He had hoped to vanquish the great demon Gargoran but had barely escaped with his life, and his weapon had been destroyed, broken into forty-two fragments, and sent across the stars. If he had any hope of keeping his world safe he must vanquish this demon, but only his scythe can do so. Thus begins his journey across the cosmos to face friend and foe alike and gather the shards towards a future where he will hopefully save his world and himself.
Jon Ridley: The Beginning is a combination of science-fiction, adventure, and time-travel with a slight hat tip to the LITRPG genre. In this seek and retrieve style quest Jon is forced to make difficult choices, and those decisions have some serious ramifications. He is known as a demon hunter, but his quest forces him to face more than just demons, and unlock secrets covered for Millenium. New friends and new enemies are pivotal to his journey as he seeks to learn who can be trusted and is sent to places of imaginative and untold dangers, from blood-seeking horrors to dragons. Andrew Smith's concise and simplistic style of writing will appeal to a young audience as the easy third-person perspective draws you along for the ride, and while wrought with fantasy violence, difficult decisions, and combat, there is nothing too gratuitous. I enjoyed the twists that were woven within, and how everything is not as it seems. Anger, fear, and hatred drive a plot filled with hardships, difficulties, obstacles, challenges, and monsters.