Book Review: "Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum" by R.K. Mortenson

Landon Snow finds himself on a wild adventure at sea. When a huge, ark—like vessel emerges, Landon—and his sisters—join a quest to find the Island of Arcanum, where the animals of Wonderwood are imprisoned. With the help of his old friends—a horse named Melech, elfish valley folk, a girl named Ditty, and the poet/prophet Vates—Landon seeks to unlock the island's dark secrets and escape with the animals. But he must battle storms and the villainous Arcans—pirates who hoard animals as treasure. Will Landon ever make it back to Wonderwood alive?

First off, I would like to apologize to any faithful readers who have been reading my blog since the beginning. I promised a review of this book back in November of 2006 and am only now getting around to it!

When I first read these books, they had been touted as the Christian version of Harry Potter. I disagreed because there's no magic and frankly the storyline was not as good. Still though I thought they were good reads for middle grade readers. I liked this book a lot better than the second book in the series, and maybe even a little bit more than the first. I really liked how both of Landon's sisters are involved and the plot here is more direct and straightforward than the other two. The adventures they have are thrilling and there is some humor as well. Kids will love the talking animals and the fantasy characters. There are a few bit dark scenes but nothing too traumatic.

The one qualm I had is that I feel these books tend to be on the preachy side and heavily incorporate use of the Bible and other Christian lingo. While Christian kids might not mind this, if you are uncomfortable with reading about that in books, this might not be the best read for you. Still though, if you have been looking for a good fantasy book for a reluctant reader, this book is good for that. There's lots of adventure, teamwork and morals thrown in that make for a good read. Also there's a lot of respect for the US Navy as well. It's a fast read but one that kids will enjoy reading.

I would highly recommend reading the first two Landon Snow books before you read this one as there are many references to past adventures. Also doing that will give you good insight into Landon's character as well as the fantasy world and the Button Up library.

Landon Snow and the Island of Arcanum by R.K. Mortenson is published by Barbour (2006)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. I read the first one and didn't care for it. I didn't think it was unique or imaginative enough. Since that time I've wondered if I should give the series another chance. I don't think I'd have any objections to my kids reading them (after all, I kept the first book just in case!) but ....well, I'm a little less than impressed.


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