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“I just wanted to explore—the sparkly caverns were so beautiful—but I couldn’t find my way out,” Coralie said. —The Crystal Caverns
The Crystal Caverns
The Last Firehawk #2
by Katrina Charman
Tag, Skyla, and Blaze band together to search for the next piece of the magical Ember Stone. They must find the stone before the powerful vulture Thorn. Finding the Ember Stone will help Thorn increase his power. Thorn also wants the last firehawk, Blaze. Can the three friends save Perodia from Thorn’s dark magic?
The second book in The Last Firehawk Series has a new adventure as the three friends seek the next piece of the ember stone. The three friends brainstorm ideas on how to get into and out of the Crystal Caverns. The addition of a new friend, a seal, gives the story additional interest.
While in the frozen world of the Crystal Caverns, the friends must defeat Thorn’s spies, the ice leopards. Blaze and his friends need to work together to defeat Thorn’s spies. Readers will enjoy seeing Blaze learn to use his powers. Even though he has not mastered his powers, he does his best to help his friends. Readers will learn the importance of helping others as well as working together. The Crystal Caverns has the right amount of suspense and action to keep younger readers interested without adding details that might scare them.
Although The Crystal Caverns can be read as a stand-alone book, readers will enjoy the story more if they have read The Ember Stone first. The Last Firehawk Series is written for newly independent readers and will appeal to readers seeking adventure. The story has many elements that will keep readers interested. The illustrations show emotion, and the ice leopards add danger and suspense to the story. Onomatopoeias are scattered throughout the story, which makes reading fun as well as adds to the mood. Short sentence structure, dialogue, and simple vocabulary make The Crystal Caverns easy to read. Black-and-white illustrations appear on every page, which helps bring the story to life.
The book begins with an introduction to help readers understand the conflict. A two-page map of Perodia gives a visual of the geography and location of important landmarks. The last page of the book contains four questions and an activity, which will reinforce important comprehension skills. Readers who love animals and a good adventure will enjoy The Crystal Caverns.
- Ice leopards, who are under Thorn’s control, come after Tag, Skyla, and Blaze. “Skyla loaded an acorn into her slingshot. Quick as a flash, she shot it into the left eye of one of the leopards. The leopard fell back and roared . . . The leopard swiped its claws at Tag, but he ducked just in time.”
- While in a cave, ice leopards try to get the Ember Stone. Blaze throws fire bolts at icicles to make them fall. “They yelped as the huge icicles came crashing down! Crash! Large icicles smashed to pieces on the ground, right in front of the ice leopards.”
- The ice leopards make another attempt to get the Ember Stone. “Skyla shot acorns at the other ice leopard, but they bounced off its thick, spotted fur. Skyla was cornered. . . The leopards yelped and fell to the ground as Blaze screeched again. . . Blaze screeched and the ice leopards’ icy teeth shattered. . . The leopards scrambled to their feet and ran away.”
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- Thorn is an evil vulture that uses black magic called the Shadow; he hopes to destroy Perodia.
- Firehawks “were magical birds who protected the Ember Stone—a stone that holds magic within.”
- When a piece of the Ember Stone is placed on a map, “the map glowed, brighter and brighter. . . When Tag looked again, a small shining dot appeared on the map.” The magical map guides the friends to the next location to which they must travel.