Three boys and a girl go on a quest to find Layla’s kidnapped father.
Reggie, the royal chronicler, Kaye, a knight, and Beau, Queen Vianne’s nephew, attend a meeting regarding an escaped prisoner. Layla, a young girl close to the Queen interrupts after having chased her kidnapped father all day long. Upon hearing the story, the Queen realizes that Bragwayne, a former knight of hers, has done the kidnapping. Vianne agrees to help, deciding to send some of her knights the next day. However, Layla takes the rescue into her own hands, stealing Kaye’s horse and riding late into the night. The Queen allows Reggie, Kaye, and Beau, along with a few more experienced knights, to find Layla and rescue her father, beginning an adventure that leads to a looming forest with a beastly legend.
LEGEND OF THE FOREST BEAST contains great descriptions, fun characters, and excellent messages for its youthful audience. The story focuses less on strength and skill, emphasizing the importance of wit and bravery, highlighted especially through the fact that Reggie, the narrator, plays the part of chronicler rather than knight. Layla also repeatedly states the difference between doing good deeds for glory or to truly help others. The novel even features identity-discovery in the young characters in Kaye’s obsession with his knight’s name and Reggie’s struggle of deciding to remain the royal chronicler or be a knight like Kaye.
Despite all of these great aspects, the story does struggle a little with characterization. Beau displays less personality than the other characters and Layla shows minimal development. While Kaye does go through the realization that his actions are more important than his reputation, even Reggie has not fully figured things out in the end. This does, however, leave LEGEND OF THE FOREST BEAST open to the fourth sequel in the SIR KAYE series.
Winn writes in a fun, descriptive style, managing to avoid slow or nonessential scenes. The dialogue between the characters flows easily, though the characters do seem to double over with laughter quite frequently. The story reads enjoyably well.
LEGEND OF THE FOREST BEAST captures colorful adventures, fun characters, and inspirational thoughts in a quick and easy read for children.