Lor Mandela – Destruction From Twins by L. Carroll captured my interest even before I opened the book. The front cover features a beautiful young woman with piercing blue eyes and a rupturing planet. The back cover text describes a dying alien world, a prophetic riddle, and a “Child of Balance” who may or may not be a teenager from Earth. Immediately, I sensed I was holding an epic, entertaining read in my hands. I can tell you that Lor Mandela did not disappoint.
In Part One on Lor Mandela, twin sisters position themselves to take power as the Vritesse (the matriarchal leader of the Trysta race) after their mother dies. Soon it is discovered that Lor Mandela is dying and will be destroyed. The soul of the planet appoints a “Child of Balance” named Audril Borloc, who must solve the prophetic riddle known as the Advantiere to save the planet. Shortly after her fourth birthday, Audril disappears during an attack on Mandela castle. Several Lor Mandelan spies travel to Earth in search of Audril.
In Part Two we meet our heroine, Maggie Baker, a bored but typical sixteen-year old living in Glenhill, Iowa. Small town life has Maggie longing to ease the boredom, even swimming nude in the local pond. Little does she know that her wish will soon be granted with a grand adventure beyond her wildest imagination. Maggie, despite the age difference, possesses an uncanny resemblance to Audril, including the blue eyes and black hair which are traits exclusive to the ruling Borloc family on Lor Mandela.
Author L. Carroll has created an entire universe with loveable creatures, horrible monsters, and mysterious magic, effectively keeping readers of all ages captivated from cover to cover. Carroll gradually builds the momentum over the first 300 pages. Then she throws us onto a rollercoaster of twists and turns in the closing chapters as two great armies clash with a dying planet as the background. Just when you’re able to catch your breath, the author hits you with a whopper of an ending, effectively setting up the sequel.
I would like to have seen Maggie appearing sooner in the story, as younger readers will quickly bond with the strong yet vulnerable protagonist. However, there is plenty going on throughout to keep less experienced readers turning the pages. Maggie’s time to shine is in the second half of the book and shine she does.
The conclusion of the Harry Potter series has left a largely unfilled gap in the fantasy/young adult genre. A gap, I believe, L. Carroll’s Lor Mandela Trilogy will fill quite nicely. I highly recommend Lor Mandela and rate it as a Must Read for fans of this genre.
By William R. Potter for Reader’s Choice Reviews