ABOUT JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD:
Title: Joshua and the Lightning Road
Publication date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Donna Galanti
Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.
Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.
To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.
In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.
Joshua and the Lightning Road is a wonderfully imaginative adventure filled with family love, best friends, a new world, and frightening beasts. And, of course, horrible bad guys! Everything a middle grade reader will love.
Joshua is a bit of a misfit as he and his grandfather move often, but now he’s got a best friend. Until lightning strikes and his buddy Finn disappears! The only way to save Finn seems to be to beg the lightning to strike again and take Joshua. He arrives in a horrible world, the Lost Realm of Nostos, where the ancient Greek gods have withered and become powerless, but magic still exists. Those who wield it kidnap children from Earth to be their slaves and all the new arrivals are auctioned off to work in the realms of the now-uncaring old gods.
Joshua can’t find Finn, but he quickly befriends another boy and makes some gut-felt choices in whom to trust. This sets him onto a life-threatening adventure where he learns of his family’s connection to Nostos.
The story is well-told, sure to be a favorite of Percy Jackson fans, with a bit of Harry Potter thrown in. The monsters are well written and truly scary - on land, in water, and flying through the air. The connections to Greek myth are cool and interesting.
From a writing perspective, the book could have used another round of editing focusing on showing versus telling, adding more description, and watching for a few punctuation, pronoun, and head-hopping issues. The beginning is a little confusing – we don’t know the mc’s name for several pages. And it’s not necessary to use “then” quite so often, the reader knows it happens next.
But then we get bacon beer and all is forgiven! I enjoyed meeting the characters and expect them to be back in another book. I’m sure kids who enjoy adventures, especially in magical worlds, will read quickly and want more.
Link to Goodreads:
ABOUT DONNA GALANTI:
Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs at www.project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogs..., a cooperative of published middle grade authors. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com and www.ElementTrilogy.com. Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.