Dylan Dover Into the Vortex by Lynne Howard from @The ConradPress #BookReview #MiddleGrade #Fantasy
Dylan Dover Into the Vortex by Lynne Howard
The Conrad Press, pb, £9.99
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Dylan Dover is an ordinary twelve-year-old boy with the usual problems; schools, chores, bullies and magic. One moment, Dylan is running through a forest, escaping the school bullies, and the next, he has fallen through a porthole into another world of magical beings. As if Dylan isn’t confused enough, he is told he is a warlock with magical parents and a twin brother, Remy, and cannot return to the human world and his human parents. Questions pile up when Dylan learns that he is not just a twin, but a quadruplet, one of four, and his birth parents thought all but Remy died at birth. How did Dylan end up adopted into the human world? And if he is still alive, what about the other brother and sister? Is it possible they are out there, too, waiting to be found?
A highschool aged boy who discovers there’s another world of magical beings just the other side of a portal? A highschool aged, magically gifted boy who learns he’s part of a prophecy? The set-up of Dylan Dover is very similar to that of Harry Potter; Dylan is a natural at flying, he has male and female best friends, the adults are all keeping secrets, and Dylan doesn’t know who to trust, but that’s where it ends I’m glad to say.
Aimed at a middle-grade audience, Dylan Dover starts before Dylan’s birth setting out the premise of the story. There is a prophecy of four young siblings who will change the Fae world forever. Some want this to happen, but others don’t, and they will do anything to stop the prophecy from coming about. We read both sides, so we know who we can and can’t trust. We even know another force is behind the antagonists, making them behave a certain way, which is perfect for an MG audience. There is a good mix of explanation and mystery to engage with a young audience without leaving them confused by having to always read between the lines.
The story moved along at a decent pace, with Dylan learning to navigate this new world while still missing his human parents and home, so there were emotional elements as well as some moments of true peril. Towards the end, we discover what has happened to Dylan’s other brother, which is quite a dark moment. The ending has a satisfying twist that left me curious about what will happen in book 2.
I found Dylan Dover: Into the Vortex an enjoyable read, suitable for its target audience but with enough depth to keep a more seasoned reader engaged. Highly recommended.