Book Review by Pip (14)
The Book of Secrets is the first book in The Ateban Cipher Series, written by the acclaimed Australian author A.L. Tait, who is also the author of the Mapmaker Chronicles. The narrative follows Gabe, a young monk forced into a world of secrecy, discovery and adventure after a valuable manuscript is thrust into his hands for safe keeping. Gabe is whirled into the world outside The Abby which is so different to where he was raised since birth. Spurred on by courage and curiosity, Gabe must decode a message left by a dying man.
Gabe is forced to flee his home and compelled to question all he knows. Along the way, his morals are tested and his understanding of right and wrong proves to be more complicated than he ever suspected. Gabe’s journey takes place within a medieval time period and A. L. Tait creates an interesting world mixed with fantasy and history. The story explores the intricate relationship within the hierarchy during the medieval period, using different characters to compare the lifestyles of the rich and poor. Characters include monks, royalty, hunters and peasants. The story is very engaging with its eclectic mix of characters, settings and has a great plot line. It kept me hooked!
The book is targeted for tweens to teens, but with its gripping storyline, interesting twists and character development, this book will be enjoyed by a wide variety of ages. There were two main highlights for me. Firstly, I appreciated the historical facts woven into the storytelling; it was really interesting. Secondly, I enjoyed the character development within the narrative. For example, Gabe’s character is shaped during the story, influenced by his morals, the people he meets and challenges he faces. These themes resonate with teens today because development of character is extremely important in the adolescence years. It is a time when the world as we know it expands and new ideas are everywhere, so developing integrity and strength within your person is so important. It was great to see that journey exemplified on the page. I really enjoyed this story and will be looking forward to reading the sequel, Book of Answers, and more books by A.L. Tait.