Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Realm Travellers: The Forbidden Passage by M.J. Raco is the third book in the series. It all started when a group of teenagers discovered a portal to another world during an ordinary camping trip. The discovery was anything but ordinary when the teenagers develop amazing abilities and use those abilities against deadly competitors in a dangerous competition. When the Realm Travellers learn about Ryker's mother's illness, they band together with a plan to travel back to the Ancient Realm where Max can use her healing abilities to cure her. Ryker has another life to save when he discovers that the evil Wulf has emerged from the Dark Forest to track Aelianna down. To save the life of the girl he left behind, he must first survive trials and hope that the other Travellers save him in time.
The story focuses on Ryker and his hope to save his mother which creates a larger journey when he discovers that Aelianna needs help, and he faces off against Wulf. M.J. Raco weaves between various perspectives which include Jack, Ryker, Max, Aelianna, Connor, and Edra. Their role as Realm Travellers has given them a certain status which is explored through each of the perspectives and adds a different outlook on Ryker's journey as they work to help him. While the main focus is on Ryker, Aelianna plays an important role in his journey and their connection is explored further. It's this bond that pushes Ryker to continue to fight for those he loves and gives him strength through each challenge. Wulf is a perfect villain who reflects the darkness within this realm as he takes pleasure from cruelty and uses that to torture Ryker.
Lovely details in the writing create a setting that draws you in through a shimmering gauzy curtain that plunges into the depths of another world. The Ancient Realm is a lovely creation with amazing abilities and a bewitching voice, portals to another realm, and places like the Forbidden Passage and the Dark Forest. Raco uses subtle language to create vivid images such as Ryker seeing the carnage of himself when in the light of day and Aelianna finding beauty in a sphere that she looks upon with reverence. This is a great read for all ages with action and fantasy creating an adventure that is dark, thrilling, and unexpected. An exciting series, Realm Travellers continues to impress with The Forbidden Passage which ups the action with vivid character growth, deadly challenges, and heroic feats.