Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Doshmisi, Denzel, Maia, and Sonjay always thought Aunt Alice's Manzanita Ranch was a great place to visit, but they never thought they would have to live there. But when their mother died unexpectedly, that's where they moved to. It hasn't been very long since then, and the kids are bored stiff. It's a good thing they have the family Midsummer party to look forward to. Although without their mom, or even the cousins who are inexplicably absent, even that might not be much fun.
What starts out as a rather dull, depressing day gets a lot more interesting with a strange lesson in family history. It turns out that the two brothers and two sisters are "The Four." Descendants of a line of four brothers and sisters who can pass through their own dimension and into Faracadar. With their mother gone, the time of their mother and aunt and uncles have passed. It is up to the new Four now.
But what is "it"? Trust me, they want to know as much as you do. Unfortunately, one of the rules is that they don't get to know much the first time around. All they know is that they have to get the Staff of Shakabaz away from a guy named Sissrath. Who that is, how they do it, why they have to, and even what Faracadar is, they'll have to figure out for themselves. They'll have to work together, learning what each of their strengths are and how to use them, and maybe they'll be able to pull it all off.
THE CALL TO SHAKABAZ is richly imagined and incredibly detailed, both land and story. At first it's a bit like a modern version of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. But by the end of the tale you realize it's so much deeper than that. This is a book about finding personal strength, in all different forms, and appreciating the talents of others, and the strength in uniting different people, and so much more! I want to buy a copy for everyone I know, regardless of age, race, or sex. It's part fantasy, part history lesson, part real life -- I can't even describe it! But, it's beautiful, and it's kind of a picture of what I'd like to see our world look like. Although maybe without the greenish sun -- that might be a little weird.