Pure Heart Guide

Twin Lakes Book 1

Children - Action
482 Pages
Reviewed on 05/29/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Liz Konkel

Pure Heart Guide by Stephen Huls is the first book in the Twin Lakes series. It's that time once again for the annual family gathering that brings everyone together for a grand ole time. A happy reunion then becomes filled with chaos, danger, and unusual discoveries. When siblings Levi and Sariah discover a letter warning of an old curse, the two are driven by curiosity to explore a cave. This has them stumbling into an unexpected danger when their presence catches the attention of secret beings hidden deep within the mountain. Their disappearance draws their family into the middle of the strange happenings that have haunted the mountain for years and into strange experiments that could change the world. Meanwhile, Ben receives a box left to him by his grandfather. If he chooses to open it, he'll be responsible for the contents. The mysterious box he inherits sparks his own personal journey to discover his destiny.

As the family investigates the disappearance of Levi and Sariah, Huls explores their perspective as a way to get to the truth behind the strange happenings in the mountain. The mysteries of the mountain are reminiscent of folktales with legends of dangerous creatures and strange happenings woven into the history of this region. The unusual names add to the science fiction aspects. Several perspectives are seen throughout to show the worry of the family, the fear of experiments, the beings in the mountain, and the various paths the characters find themselves treading. Having each perspective gives the story a well-rounded journey and allows each character to have a moment to show their motivation, heart, and conflict. Stephen Huls blends mystery, science fiction, and folktales in a fascinating story which weaves between a family's search for answers, scientific experiments, and secrets of the mountain. True Heart Guide takes readers on an adventure with family ties, aliens, and a mysterious destiny. Perfect for mystery and sci-fi fans!

K.C. Finn

Pure Heart Guide: Twin Lakes Book 1 is a work of fiction in the action and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Stephen Huls. Written for middle grade and young adult reading audiences, this exciting story focuses on mysterious paranormal and science fiction goings-on as the series begins in the Beaver Mountains of Utah. We meet the enigmatic children of the Adair family and their peculiar family friend, Fairsong Tree Talker. From here the action begins as secret plots, kidnappings, and a quest for vengeance intertwine with the quiet summer holiday that the family had planned. What results is the opening to an exciting series of tales.

Author Stephen Huls has crafted an engaging and engrossing series opener in a novel that really introduces the characters deeply and sets up the story and the paranormal concepts well. There is always something to keep young readers interested in this plot structure, with many different strands of action forming and sudden, unexpected new hurdles for the heroes to overcome. The creation and worldbuilding around the Nemekans were interesting, and I’ll be excited to see where that goes as the series develops. One of the things which I really enjoyed about this work was the imagination and hard work that has gone into the descriptive formation of it, which brings the world to life in the reader’s mind. Overall, I would certainly recommend Pure Heart Guide to fans of family-friendly paranormal adventures that are sure to go on and get better and better.

Ruffina Oserio

Pure Heart Guide is the first book in the Twin Lakes series by Stephen Huls. A family reunion turns into an adventure fraught with danger when two kids from the Adair family go missing. Camping in the Twins Lake in Beaver, Utah area is supposed to be a fun experience for the family until seventeen-year-old Sariah and fourteen-year-old Levi are taken. The captor has links with a race called Nemekans. A search party is set up to uncover the location of the missing children. It is a dangerous adventure to an underground world and it is interesting to follow the characters as they deal with complex issues and conflicts. Can the Sheriff’s men and his search party locate the missing children and can the family and friends find peace?

The plot is littered with strong points that are carefully crafted to augment the intrigue in the story. Right from the opening pages, a mysterious letter already gives hints of intrigue and lurking danger. While the author uses this to build a link between the present and the past, this still also reinforces the mystery of the cave, something that young Sariah and Levi are fascinated about, and one that draws them into danger. Character handling is wonderful and readers will be thrilled with characters like old Fairsong and his origins as he provides support to the search party. The interactions between the young characters and their explorative and expansive personalities are ingeniously written. I enjoyed the way the author writes about the setting, with the mountains, the caves, and the tunnels, a complex world for a great story to happen. The reader is quickly absorbed into the treacherous underground paths and tunnels. Pure Heart Guide is a novel filled with entertainment and wisdom; a story that beautifully captures the world of youngsters trapped in the cunning of the old. It is a story with deep layers and great potential for entertainment.