“James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra” is a fast-paced fantasy adventure novel that will keep you engaged from start to finish.
James Clyde is not your typical 11-year-old. His obscure past is full of mystery. James’ grandfather, Wilmore, left James as a newborn at a children’s home. He was later adopted by Ann Brown along with his friends (and partners in adventure) Ben and Mary.
Although Wilmore left James mysteriously, he looks forward to spending each Christmas with him—Ben and Mary also find Wilmore to be a strange character. Little do they know that this Christmas will be one of the greatest adventures of their lives. When an ill-intentioned man persues James—he learns about his true identity as the chase leads them to Orchestra. Orchestra is a majestic, fantasy-world in which James feels “invincible” and “he feared nobody.” He describes Orchestra “as though he had entered a beautiful painting and was enjoying at first hand the wonderful use of Colour.”As he finds his place in the kingdom and fulfills his role in saving it—James falls in love with Orchestra and feels at home, although he is in danger.
This story will appeal to all who root for the underdog; and who doesn’t? It really is a page-turner while the palaces, magic, royalty, and battles hold your interest. The short chapters make it easy for readers to remain glued to the story to discover what will happen next. Colm McElwain carefully crafted each chapter to reveal new insights to keep the story moving.
Every character has a story to tell. I like James’ character development growing from someone who doubts himself to a young man determined to fulfill his mission. Ben and Mary were both entertaining in their own way, as cool sidekicks that pick up the slack where James lacks. Ben’s pessimism was balanced by Mary’s optimism. Wilmore’s dedication to protecting James was a crucial part in building his own back story. The villains were cunning, relentless, and vicious. The malevolent Queen Abigail of Darken, her sorcerer, and her renegade right-hand man made James’ journey every bit intense and challenging.
This novel is a treat for adventure-seeking readers within the young adult crowd. Reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, this novel is embedded with lessons on loyalty, friendship, honor, love, and sacrifice. I’m looking forward to the next addition in the series, the journey of James Clyde is definitely far from over. I’ve read a lot of young adult books and I must say that this is one of the best in my list. It has the perfect balance of fun and suspense, making it a real treat!
Overall this is a very fun read; I really do hope that book two is in the pipeline!