Miguel Lopez de Leon
Galadria Worldwide (2017)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/18)
“The Light Dweller” by Miguel Lopez de Leon is an extraordinary fantasy story about a young boy named Ben, who discovers a hidden world far below the Earth’s surface. Action, intrigue, strange new worlds, and mysterious creatures – this story will delight readers of all ages!
When Ben’s grandmother passes away, the family uproots and moves into her old house. While exploring one day, Ben discovers a room off the kitchen leading to a basement filled with furniture, papers and mementos from a time long ago. Behind a hidden wooden door at the far end of this room, Ben uncovers multiple passageways and, with a flashlight, batteries, and a backpack full of food and juice, Ben is off to investigate. What he finds deep below the surface is completely out of this world. On the brink of starvation and lost beyond any hope, Ben is coerced into helping save the ancient city of Gren from total darkness. To do this, Ben must work with Lina, the Head Guard of Gren, to retrieve three sacred objects, from forbidden lands, that will restore light and life to the people of Gren. But at what risk? And will Ben ever find his way back to the surface?
Wow. This is such an entertaining story with many elements drawing me into the folds. From the characters and the fantastical ancient underground cities, to the unusual, out-of-this-world creatures, the story is absorbing and flows so well, I had a hard time putting it down.
The writing takes you deep inside Ben’s head, as readers eagerly participate in his trials and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance. The author hits on some pretty disturbing topics – Ben is bullied unmercifully at school and totally neglected by his parents, who fail to support, or provide, love, sympathy or any kind of attention whatsoever to this lonely, scared, 12-year-old boy. Though the parents only have bit parts in this story, it is enough to instill an intense disliking of their characters, rallying me to Ben and his well-being. The story revolves around the development of Ben’s character and it is a joy to see him develop. The lessons he learns provide important messages to young readers through an entertaining, engaging backdrop.
With dynamic characters, well-built cities inside a fascinating world, and an intriguing storyline that pushes your imagination to the limits, “The Light Dweller” by Miguel Lopez de Leon is a thrilling fantasy I recommend for all ages.