Fascinating, fiery tale of adventure
K.A. Applegate's fantasy adventure tale begins in a scary enough place a modern, run-of-the-mill high school. Ever World's narrator, the new kid David, takes Senna, who is Christopher's girlfriend, to Taco Bell where one of Christopher's friends sucker punches him. David soon finds himself recuperating near a dumpster with Senna, Christopher, and other friends. Thus begins the story that takes four typical teenagers on an adventure through the mysterious Ever World.
The other three are drawn from their homes to a lakeside pier to witness a huge wolf rise up from the water and take Senna, who has just enough time to look at them and say one word No before disappearing with the wolf. Running after the image of the wolf and Senna, the three find themselves wrenched into another world. It is a world filled with all the elements of myths Loki, an evil god from whom the mere phrase Welcome to Ever World is enough to cause fear; trolls who, when wounded, do not bleed but slowly turn to stone; and Vikings who are fierce, preparing for battle, and nonchalant about the unicorns grazing in nearby fields.
It is also a world filled with the things today's teenagers find commonplace, that cause readers to be pulled along in the adventure. The adventurers casually allude to the movie Titanic and discuss the contents of April's backpack down to the half-full bottle of Advil which when dispensed to the Viking women for relief of pain causes a minor problem. They sing familiar songs to soothe the Vikings and win their protection, even creating original lyrics about Vikings sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic. And they continue to search for Senna, their friend who is somehow tied to the approaching battle that will spread war throughout Everworld.
In this first volume of her new fantasy series, Applegate's steady use of references to today's teenage world, and the detailed, concrete descriptions of the world she has created, are told through the realistic voice of David a voice and a story that is sure to capture the imagination of young adult readers who will await with interest the second volume in her series, Ever World: Land of Loss.
Jamie Whitfield has taught English and literature for nearly 20 years.