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Reviewed by Gobi Jane for Readers' Favorite
Pure Heart Guide is the first book in the Twin Lakes series by Stephen Huls and a work of great entertainment for readers who enjoy surprises in plot and a great setting. The Adair family decides that their summer family reunion be experienced as camping in Twin Lakes in the Beaver Mountains of Utah, but when seventeen-year-old Sariah and fourteen-year-old Levi go missing, a search party is set up to locate the missing youngsters. But it is just the beginning of an adventure that will take them through an underground and mysterious world filled with dangers and intrigue. Hidden beneath the mountains is a world that might also hold clues to the disappearances that have occurred in these parts and a world that opens to war against the humans. Will the search bear the expected fruit of finding the missing children and can life be the same again for this family and their friends when war breaks out?
There is so much to expect in this novel. First, Stephen Huls creates strong and sophisticated characters. I loved the Old Fairsong Tree Talker who leads the search party, an enigmatic character whose presence raises so many questions. The conflict builds up quickly, from searching for missing children to war with the Nemekans. There are hints of science fiction and fantasy. The setting contributes hugely to the conflict. The camping ground has led the characters to a point that is the only link to an underground world and the author does an impeccable job in describing the cave and the tunnels. Pure Heart Guide is a powerful story and I enjoyed the narrative voice, the cunningly written plot, and the memorable characters. The setting itself is a world that readers will want to explore. This book is gorgeous and some of the characters possess wisdom that will make readers think a lot.