REVIEW: Aster Wood and the Lost Maps of Almara (Book 1) – JB Cantwell * * * * *

Aster Woods and the Lost Maps of Almara - JB Cantwell

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Book Description from Amazon

Broken. That’s what the world is now. The Long Drought is over, but the rain that falls burns like acid on the flesh.

Twelve-year-old Aster Wood is weak compared to the other survivors who flock to the cities, the only places where a meal and fresh water can be had.

But when he finds a ragged piece of parchment in the hidden corners of his father’s childhood home, he is pulled through the cosmos to a place no one on Earth knows exists.

Here, the grass grows green. The wolves glow like the full moon. The wizards play with ancient knowledge, delighted with the simple spells that can bring dying plants back to life and make invisible that which they do not want seen.

And Aster is healthy again.

The heart condition that has plagued him since he was a toddler is suddenly absent, and Aster finds himself running, no, flying across the countryside as if he were born to do it.

Now, he must chase down the long-lost sorcerer, Almara, to discover the truth about his own family’s past. And to learn what is yet to come for Earth’s future.

Aster Wood and the Lost Maps of Almara is the first book of five in the action-packed Aster Wood series, perfect for teen adventure readers. Discover Aster Wood, the new series of middle grade fantasy books for middle school and young adult readers alike.



I bought this book to read with my young daughter. I’m not sure what I expected, perhaps something more juvenile and silly. What I found was a little treasure of a book. Aster is a young boy who, very reluctantly, goes to visit his Grandmother. He’s a sickly lad who struggles with self-esteem issues and how to relate to his peers.  While visiting his grandmother, he stumbles upon another world. A world in which he is different, a world where he stands out, a world that holds close and mysterious ties to his family.

What I liked about the book

I can’t possibly list all the things I liked about the book. Wonderful imagination coupled with great writing makes this middle grade novel a real gem. Aster is a likeable character that you quickly grow fond of.  Kiron is complicated, moody, sometimes dark and sometimes funny.  The story progresses at a fast pace, introducing new characters and events with ease and skill.

What I didn’t enjoy that much

There wasn’t really anything that niggled me, however my daughter made it very clear that she didn’t like it when Kiron killed the chickens (because she likes chickens).

Final thoughts

I loved this book and have already bought the second one in the series. I will keep an eye out for more of this author’s work.



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