Although Leander, the narrator of the series, is 19, the audience for this series seems to be middle school. Leander lives on his own, but acts in a childish manner when he undertakes dangerous treasure-hunting quests. the setting is an imaginary land at war with a neighboring country, and the illustrations, depicting long, pointed ears on all the characters, draw extensively from manga.
In the first of the series, Leander sneaks into Geruan to recover a heirloom flute taken during a recent invasion. Despite his incompetence, he survives and learns enough to question his country’s version of the war. Leander is a year older in the sequel when he searches for a necklace that is rumored to have fallen into the hands of gangsters. Both books, particularly the second one, show him shifting purpose, indecisive about who to rescue and racing from one confrontation to another. The plots are a string of climaxes until the resolution that seems to drop out of nowhere.
According to the author, his purpose is to keep the LGBT characters veiled so that being LGBT is not the focus of the novels. There are some sotto voce references to same sex couples and an impression in the first volume that the narrator finds both a male and a female attractive. In the second volume Leander accompanies a person to a hospital to have elective surgery and notices he wears bandages on his chest before the surgery, which puzzles the narrator but is never explained. The average reader will not connect the dots to decipher that this character is transgender. There are much better fantasies for teen readers looking for LGBT elements. http://o-leander.com/
Carolyn Caywood, Retired
Virginia Beach Public Library