Monday, April 30, 2018

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: RIDERS OF THE REALM: ACROSS THE DARK WATER by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

So thrilled to be able to talk about this book today. We unveiled the book trailer a couple of weeks ago on Project Mayhem, and will reveal the winner of a signed copy at the end of this post!

What It's About (from HarperCollins website):
Deep in the jungles of the Realm, the Sandwen clan live amongst deadly spit dragons and hordes of warring giants. But with their winged battle horses, they manage to keep their people safe.

Twelve-year-old Rahkki is a stable groom for the Riders in the Sandwen army, taking care of his brother’s winged stallion. The Sandwens believe they have tamed all the wild pegasi in their land, and turned them into flying warhorses. But when a herd of wild steeds flies over their village, Rahkki and his clanmates are stunned.

Meanwhile, a small herd of pegasi have journeyed across a treacherous ocean to settle in a new and free land. Led by Echofrost and Hazelwind, the Storm Herd steeds are unaware of the Sandwens. But when the unthinkable happens, Echofrost and the rest of Storm Herd will have to come to trust the Sandwens, or both may not survive.

Opening Lines:
"Every Sandwen child dreamed of riding a winged horse, though most never would, and one would rather not."

What I Loved About It:
Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is one of the most talented and most professional middle grade writers around. Her Guardian Herd books have a devoted following, and now she has a new series that I think will be equally popular: Riders of the Realm.

In this first book, subtitled Across the Dark Water, a band of Pegasi have escaped the terrors of Anok and crossed the Dark Water to the land of the Sandwen clans. First off, I have to say that Alvarez's world-building is exquisite. She has created a matriarchal culture, with warriors, tame Pegasi, dragons, giants, and now the herd of wild Pegasi which has arrived.

There is action aplenty, with fights, chases, and some super pegasus aerial derring do. I kid you not, I think this would be an excellent movie (so come on, Hollywood producers!)

I was moved by the relationship between young Rahkki and his older brother, Brauk--and the losses they have endured. The main point-of-view Pegasus character, Echofrost, has similar losses, and this really ties the narrative together. At the end of my reading, I was left yearning for more of this story (Jennifer Lynn Alvarez sets up some tantalizing story questions for a sequel). Oh, and did I mention there's also some great humor within the pages too? (Let's hear it for Lutegar, the swamp buffalo.)

In writing terms, Alvarez goes a great job of alternating the third person narrative between Echofrost and Rahkki's point of view. Also, she's a master of the chapter cliffhanger. Writers, she is definitely worthy of study.

About the Author: Jennifer Lynn Alvarez draws on her lifelong love of horses  when writing her books. She lives in Northern California with her husband, children, and more than her fair share of pets. She's pictured here with her beloved mare, Maddie.

Visit the official website to play games, take quizzes, meet the pegasi, chat on the fan forum, enter to win prizes, subscribe to the newsletter!



(Taylor, please get in touch with me at my email,, and I'll get your information to Jennifer's publisher so you can receive a signed copy. Congratulations!!!)


  1. Sounds like a fantastic story and a great author I didn't know about to check out. Thanks.

  2. Young readers will be lining up to get this one. I'll be right there with them. Lots of action and adventure is what we're ready for. Thanks for the heads-up on this series.

  3. I can imagine this will be hugely popular, sounds wonderful. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

  4. Pegasus has always fascinated readers, so a whole herd has to be a real attention grabber. I learned something new, too--the plural of Pegasus.

  5. I loved the Guardian Herd series and gave a set to my great granddaughter for Christmas and birthdays. I have a friends daughter reading the series now. Both will be thrilled that the story continues. I am too! Sounds like Star is not part of this story. Somehow I missed this new release!!

  6. It takes a deft hand to handle two third person PoVs. Must be amazing. And I am also a fan of the chapter cliffhanger. I will look for this one. Thanks for this post.

  7. This book sounds like one my son would love, particularly with it being the start of a series. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!