Opal Summerfield: & The Battle of Fallmoon Gap
Author: Mark Caldwell Jones
Within the enchanted Ozark Mountain lives a young sixteen-year-old girl named Opal. On the day of the sixteen birthday, a day of celebration something happens that would change the course and direction of her life. Secrets are hidden; magic is everywhere as Opal receives a special necklace for a hawk for her birthday. The necklace is powerful and is made of Opal like her name and will protect her from harm as many including an evil conjurer named Amina and a group of dangerous masked hoodlums called Hoods, leave more than just their mark on Opal. Enjoying her birthday but first dealing with renegade boys who take pleasure in tormenting and hurting others, Opal finds herself escaping their clutches, fighting for her life. But, things take a bad turn as the Hoods attack her family and many others killing them all leaving her to escape and find her way on her own. But, along the way she finds herself fighting mysterious creatures, learning to understand the power of the necklace and realizing that she can no longer remain in her Ozark Mountain home. Within this novel you will learn that there are many different kinds of people some black, some white and in Opals case a mixture of both. With her parents both gone and living with her uncle and aunt, she receives more love than most young teens do in the same situation. A mystic necklace holds the key to her future. Belonging to her deceased mother it holds great power and might help her to learn who she really might be and more about her parents. Maggie Brown/Amina the Conjurer wants it all. Killing her entire family, then killing a powerful blind woman, thinking she holds the answers to where the necklace might be, Opal a who has blue eyes and is African-American provides much conversation for the white and black folks of Hookrum as the call the black part of town or the whites call it and Possum Belly as the black people refer to the whites part of town. Racial slurs, racial tension, prejudice are at the core of this novel.
Griggs Landing is where she lives and the separation between the white and black parts of town is vividly described as is the magical land called the Veil.
Opal finds herself within a place will magical stones, people, creatures and a key to her past as she begins her journey with her new found resolve. But, stubborn, angry, unsure of where she is going she still resists the help of others as she tries to blend into Fallmoon Gap, learn the secrets behind the magic Opal stone and meets the mysterious Ranger whose job it is to protect and save her.
Throughout the center of the novel parts two and three the author engages Opal in training to understand the power of the necklace, the magic that she needs to understand and use, the many instructors that address her and her training to become a Warden. As she is training, learning the meaning of the crystals, their uses and power Amina is plotting to take over Fallmoon Gap and hopes that she will rule one day as queen but first she needs to take what Opal has: The necklace. With the Ranger hiding in plain site and hoping to protect Opal, her impulsive and brash behavior often getting her into trouble and dangerous situations just how will she manage to succeed in her training, will she ever connect with her mother and what about her past?
The Veil is a magical realm where the energy flows through the land like a raging river and dangerous creatures changed the magic of the Veil hunt those that misuse the magic. The Agama Stone is the name of the Opal Crystal that she wears around her neck and its dangerous powers are often unleashed as her emotions change and the powers it holds can destroy. What she learns about her parents will solidify her need to succeed and what he finds out about her father, who many say is dead, will surprise her. Could he be a terrible criminal who has allied himself with Amina? Would he join in her quest to destroy Fallmoon Gap and did he play a part in killing everyone she loved? But, lies and betrayals are about to come front and center as Opal learns the truth about her father, just who he really and the real reason Amina wants to take down Fallmoon Gap. Lessons from the Wardens of the Protectorate will not stop what this evil witch as set in motion. Promises to resurrect someone from the dead if Opal is sacrificed prove deadly but for whom? With her teachers and trainers Eltheon, Luka, Tirian, Jakob and others Opal learns the true meaning of loyalty, trust and friendship at all costs. It all began in Liberty Creek and the people there sent something to those in Fallmoon Gap. Something so powerful and beautiful: a crystal disc of great beauty made to pay tribute to her late mother. But, there is much more before the story is done and the ending is revealed. Evil reigns, killings take place, more loved ones are destroyed and the end is near unless Opal and Tirian and figure out the real reason and the real source of power that will allow Maggie/Amina to feed, keep her monsters alive and allow her to win this dangerous war.
Opal learns some hard lessons about life as she comes face to face in a battle with Amina but who turns on her and who caused the death of so many in Liberty Creek you won’t believe. Her necklace stolen, a conjurer using its power but who was working with the conjurer and who would protect Opal as the author provides subtle twist readers won’t see coming. The final battle is run, lives are lost, weapons are drawn, truths are revealed and the final outcome of the Veil at stake. But, just as Opal faces off with her enemies something happens that would turn the tables against her. Can she kill the conjurer? Will she save those she loves? How many more will dies before the fight is over? The Agama Stone so powerful and dangerous only one person can control and handle its magic. Emotions rise the power of the stone changes the results magical. What happens to those that survive? What is the truth about her father? Is this really over or is someone hiding in plain sight that lets readers know that the fight to protect the Veil is not over and Opal’s battle has just begun. The magic of the Ozark Mountains is breathtaking. Join Opal as she learns about the power of the many gem stones and crystals as you the reader can join her in class as you read pages 216-217 and learn just which stones you might want to borrow or have in order to be protected, be able to destroy, sense danger and divine the future. Opal is a young teen that is outspoken, rebellious, smart, a quick learner, headstrong but most of all loyal to those she loves. Meet the other Wardens, take the classes, learn the history behind the Protectorate and be ready for the next adventure. Loyalty, friendship, racism, prejudice, caring, understanding and hope are just some of the important issues that the characters learn within the pages of this novel. Teens will love Opal as adults will love Sugar and Jakob. So take the journey into the Ozarks but remember to wear your own Agama Stone to stay safe.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Let’s give this one five blue sapphires which are my favorite stones and of course will protect everyone from the dangers of Amina.