Book Review - The Silver Strand by LJ Clarkson

Karen McTackett By Karen McTackett, 26th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Silver Strand - by LJ Clarkson (2013) - Children/Tween Fantasy Adventure
Novel - 283 pages
The Silver Strand is packed full of fun and mischievous characters and situations and several very timely lessons for children and adults alike. This novel has the potential to appeal to children aged 7 to 12 (targeted 9-12) that enjoy adventure, science, and science fiction.

Mostly Spoiler Free Plot Overview

Isabelle Tresdon is your typically twelve year old girl who just wants to be normal. She does not wish to stand out or draw attention to herself, let alone incite the attention of her personal school bully, Jemima. So when she suddenly sprouts a strand of silver hair that sparks and causes her to bleed pink dust, her first instinct is not one of wonderment, but of terror at the idea that others will notice her difference.

Before she can learn the origin of her silver strand and grasp the complexity and wonder of the magic that it holds, Isabelle makes the potentially fatal mistake of wishing her strand away. Only once her silver strand has withered does Isabelle discover the secret world she was destined to enter. She must save her magic, her life, and the secret world hidden in the core of the Earth where magic is expected and uniqueness is embraced. In this world exists Mastermind Academy – a place where she can learn to harness the power of her silver strand.

Cool and Creepy Characters

The characters created by L.J. Clarkson in The Silver Strand are varied, ranging from simple and obvious to complex and intriguing, from cute and cuddly to mean and menacing, from small and brave to ominous and stupid. Even Isabelle experiences life in a shape-shifted form where dangers threaten that she would never expect. The duo of Esme and Boldrick are lighthearted characters that are quick to adapt to situations. They provide a link to the secret world of Mastermind Academy while offering a level of amusement through their Martin and Lewis style banter. The character of Isabelle experiences a clear growth in both self and maturity as she learns to accept herself and realizes that taunts from Jemima deserve the least of her fear and attention.

A Lesson a Day Keeps the Stupids Away

There are many lessons for the young reader in The Silver Strand. The author's background in environmental engineering shines through her characters. Isabelle is an avid scientist who soaks up knowledge and uses this throughout the novel to logically deduce explanations for situation and wonder at how things that seem impossible could become possible with scientific insight. The character of Esme is a lover and protector of nature. She provides insight on natural plant growth and protection and is angered at mistreatment. Esme is driven by a desire to save her world and its resources. These are timely lessons for the next generation.

A Story that can Age with your Children!

The Silver Strand is targeted to age range of 9 to 12 and I think this is close to the mark. I would expect younger children from the age of 7 with an average to above average reading ability to thoroughly enjoy the journey. It is age appropriate for 9 to 12 in regard to styling and vocabulary; however, a well-read child of 11 or 12 may find some of the fantasy concepts and dialogue too young. I can see the future volumes in this series evolving the way of Harry Potter and targeting an older audience as Isabelle matures. The author has very wisely ended Book 1 with a sense of intrigue. I believe this first book will prove to be a back-story to the greater adventures which unfold in future books.

Final Thoughts

I found The Silver Strand to be a fun and light read with some very original concepts. I did find myself on occasion noticing some heavy parallels with familiar concepts and ideas and at those points, I had to remind myself of the target audience. The most intuitive children’s book authors mix original concept with those that are proven and which their readers demand and L.J. Clarkson has done this to perfection. Through the eyes of the target age, I felt the story and the fantasy elements were brilliant, as were the educational aspects heavily peppered throughout. I particularly liked the inclusion of the glossary at the end of the novel. It is a nice reminder of the different elements of the novel and an easy referral for a re-read or prior to picking up Book 2. I would suggest the manuscript needs one more phase of proofreading and editing to polish it to the level children expect – they are brutal and will notice every tiny grammatical error, though this is a minor issue that is easily rectified.

I think any child with a sense for adventure will enjoy the journey of Isabelle.


L.J. Clarkson:
* Mastermind Academy
* Indicated

Read more about L.J. Clarkson and The Silver Strand including links to stockists HERE.

** L.J. Clarkson is a self-published author and a member of the Hidden Reads Community.**

Read other reviews by Porle Joen:

* Soul Horizon by Carole Nomarhas
* In the Shadow of the Mountains by MR Graham
* Under the Bridge by Jeannie Meekins


Children, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Mastermind, Novel, School, Science, Science Fiction, Teenager

Meet the author

author avatar Karen McTackett
* Professional Writer/Facilitator/Speaker
* Writing Mentoring & Freelancer
* Master of Arts (Writing)
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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Feb 2014 (#)

Wonderful review. Maybe after I finish my move, I will pick this one up. Is it on Kindle / ereader?

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author avatar Karen McTackett
27th Feb 2014 (#)

Hi Phyl,

Yes, it is available on Amazon Kindle for $3.11. Links to where you can buy The Silver Strand are on the below page. Scroll down to find The Silver Strand :)

I'm looking forward to Book 2 of her Mastermind Academy Series. She ends Book 1 in such a way that she will absolutely have buyers for Book 2. Very smart!

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author avatar sukkran
1st Mar 2014 (#)

an interesting review page. thanks.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
4th Mar 2014 (#)

Nice read!

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