Review: Emba Oak and the Beckoning Bones

Written by Jenny Moore
Cover illustration by David Dean
Published by Maverick Publishing

Emba Oak and the Beckoning Bones is the second thrilling, action-packed adventure in this fantastic series which starts with Emba Oak and the Terrible Tomorrows.   

Rather than being able to rest after their long journey home – from defeating the evil sorcerer Necromalcolm – Emba, Odolf and Fred discover that there are intruders, and a red crack has appeared in the sky:  a warning that danger is not far away.  When they enter the cave, they discover that their home has been wrecked, but luckily the Tome of Terrible Tomorrows has not been taken.  Worried that intruders in their home means that the threat from Necromalcolm has not gone, they decide to consult the Tome for a helpful prophecy.  It rather cryptically points them towards the legend of a hidden crypt holding lost treasure in the Petrified Peaks …

And so begins another fast-paced, exciting adventure as the trio find themselves on a quest to find the missing treasure, a quest that takes them to both scary and friendly places, but where trouble is never far away.   As if facing the dangers presented by these places wasn’t enough, they fear that they are being followed.  Could Necromalcolm’s henchmen be on their trail?  Will they reach the Petrified Peaks safely and, if so, what awaits them there?  And why are Emba’s dreams being haunted by beckoning dragon bones – do they mean harm or help?

I loved the twists and turns as the trio ventured into danger and discoveries with an ending that has made me desperate to find out what happens next.  There are so many brilliant locations visited which are all so aptly named from the Screeching Swamp to the Stone Circle of Certain Doom to the Pretty Pond of Peace and Pleasantness.  There are also some really rather terrifying creatures and some not-quite-so-terrifying creatures, especially a certain buzzing wasp-snake with a penchant for lizards.  I also really enjoyed the camaraderie and humour between Emba, Odolf and Fred and loved how familiar their relationships felt to me which made this such a delight of a story, and is one of the reasons I love books in series.

I absolutely loved following this daring, loyal and courageous trio who might not always agree, but who always look out for each other.  I adored the loving relationship between Fred and Emba with Fred always being quick to reassure Emba when she questions herself.  Odolf is a wonderfully loyal and supportive friend who is not scared to share his suspicions with Emba, even when this causes issues in their friendship.  Emba is an incredibly sympathetic young girl who is facing both emotional and physical changes which she doesn’t fully understand.  She fights to control the dragon fury which burns within her, a fury which can both cause harm and protect.  Emba knows she is different and, when she meets another who readily accepts, and even seems to admire, her differences, she is keen to develop a new friendship, despite her friend’s apprehension.    

An absolutely fantastic, fast-paced adventure, brimming with humour, heart and friendship, sure to captivate young readers of 9+. 

Thank you to Maverick Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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