Verdict: CASPER AND JASPER AND THE TERRIBLE TYRANT is an irresistible, witty and highly entertaining Young Adult novel that will appeal to readers of all ages.
When despicable despot Count Wilhelm Scream raids a dissident group’s meeting and drags the participants to prison, parents Kale and Adele desperately toss their infant twin boys into a crowd of onlookers. Soldiers cart Kale and Adele up Mount Count. The boys, Jasper and Casper, grow up with the couple who caught them mid-air, “Aunt Becky” and “Uncle Zach.” Under Scream’s orders, the Guards separate men from women, forcing Kale to mine evil black ice and mystical rainbow ice. The women are sent to gather marshmallows from the mystical and scary Slough of Despond woods. Adele and Kale seemed destined to never see each other or their boys again. It is a sad and hopeless situation.
Yet, the resilience of Kale and Adele leap from the pages of CASPER AND JASPER AND THE TERRIBLE TYRANT with lyrical and, at times, comical prose. Author Tilia Klebenov Jacobs has created a magical world full of good and evil. Jacobs deftly draws the reader into this dystopian nightmare, filled with deadly giant plants, kind and terrifying animals and small, blue-tinted miners, who help save the day in the end.
This novel is stamped as a young adult book, and certainly it will appeal to middle- and high-school readers ready to disappear into this finely crafted world. But without doubt, adults will find CASPER AND JASPER AND THE TERRIBLE TYRANT irresistible, too. Jacobs’ imagination invents thrills that arrive with a beautiful heart in their center.
Once Jacobs tells of the plight of the parents, the action starts when the twins find out, accidentally, who they might be. Kind and mildly rebellious after 12 years, the boys set out to free their parents. The suspense folds into itself. With pluck and vigor and the amusing word play of Casper and Jasper marking the pages, it is clear that the despicable tyrant Scream is in for a tough fight.
CASPER AND JASPER AND THE TERRIBLE TYRANT can be read as an escape into a fantasy world, but there’s no mistaking the parallels with the real world: mean leaders who look out only for themselves. Jacobs takes the reader on a wild, crazy and satisfying journey through the Lands of Yonder. In her magical world, good wins over evil. Maybe that’s an idea to apply to the real world.
~Greg Rideout for IndieReader