Into the Hills by C. J. Milbrandt
They say that people living along the edges of the Wilds are half-wild themselves. Zane Johns might fit right in, but he has to deal with a pushy blacksmith, his bookish best friend, and the town that wants to throw him a tea party.
“Don’t worry, Miss Brielle. To be honest, the ones with a little bit of crazy have always been my favorite.”
Into the Hills follows Zane Johns and his teammates as they get closer to the untamed middle of the land of Liberty while racing Zane’s two half-brothers. I loved the slightly creepy settings described in this early children’s book. Zane, Jovan, and Bree discover places, people, and magical creatures that are a little unusual along the way to their next waypoint. The Wilds truly seem untamed and unpredictable, but rest assured, the lighthearted humor keeps things very kid-friendly and appropriate for all ages.
“Do you mean that Zane is some kind of bird magnet?”
Bree and Zane’s equal stubbornness especially created opportunities for a lot of comedy. I even laughed out loud a couple of times. But Into the Hills isn’t all tension between the characters. I loved learning more about Zane and Jovan’s friendship, and getting to know the newest member, Bree, who is a strong-willed lady blacksmith (very cool). The messages about differences and friendship are easy to understand and bring a fresh and unique twist to the Friendship genre.
Zane sighed. Jovan and Mother were just the same. “Maybe later” meant no.
In addition to being a fun fantasy read, the Byways series has an educational twist. At the end of the story there is a list of U. S. State facts. All of those facts are hidden inside the story, so you pretty much have to re-read the whole book and find them. Book 6 covers “The Pilgrim State,” Massachusetts.
⬢ ⬢ ⬢ ⬢ ⬢ FIVE STARS
Read my review on GoodReads!