Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1112
A fun and endearing adventure begins
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Underdog stories are my absolute favorite to read, especially when you have a hero who doesn’t have the slightest idea of his true worth or strength of character. THE WATCHMEN of PORT FAYT by Conrad Mason is just that.

Told from multiple points of view, Watchmen follows several characters as they discover that a magical spoon has made its way to Port Fayt. It wouldn’t be so extraordinary if magic hadn’t been pretty much banned from the lands. You need a permit to wield even the simplest of magic. Now there’s a mysterious magical relic and a dangerous witch on the loose. The League of the Light—a sort of magic regulator group who aren’t afraid to use force—is suddenly very interested in Port Fayt, and corruption oozes from all corners of the island as dark forces are set to destroy them all.

Our journey begins as we delve into Joseph Grubb’s world. He’s a young boy whose mother was human and father was a goblin. A mongrel, by his uncle’s definition. But Grubb’s bloodline isn’t so uncommon in Port Fayt, the Jewel of the Middle Islands. It’s a safe haven for all folk whether they are troll, goblin, imp, fairy, or elf after they fled from the Old World. But Grubb’s mixed blood isn’t liked much among the humans on Port Fayt. After his parents are killed for their relationship, Grubb is forced to live with his less than loving uncle and work in the his tavern.

Our next main protag is Tabitha. She’s a young human girl who’s found her place among the Demon’s Watch, a rogue police group who monitor the seedier streets of Port Fayt. Tabs desperately wants to be considered part of the team, and this often leads her into trouble. She’s brash, inexperienced, but has a gallon of determination and bravery. Captain Newton, leader of the Demon’s Watch, took Tabs in after her parents’ tragic death.

Joining Tabitha and Grubb is a host of other engaging characters. A sniveling informant who plays both sides, a sugar-greedy fairy with no alliances, a magic-maddened witch with old scores to settle, a crotchety human with troll lineage who yearns to clean up his beloved city’s streets, and others add to the eclectic magic of Watchmen. Though we change point of view many times throughout this tale, not once do you lose track. Each voice is not only clear, but they carry the timeline forward with masterful skill. Each segment reveals more of the story, and increases the mystery and stakes.

Grubb and Tabitha, our main heroes, are so delightfully written. Just as the cover indicates, they are about as night and day as you can get. Tabs with her fierce determination. Grubb is the perpetual fish out of water. The one thing these two have in common is their bravery. Tabs pretty much wears hers on her sleeve with near reckless abandon, but Grubb discovers he is far more courageous than he ever knew. I loved how their stories came together and, in the end, it was working together that won the day. Both learned valuable lessons about loyalty, bravery, and “family.”

I found The Watchmen of Port Fayt to be quite age appropriate for middle grade readers. The content is fun, exciting, and steam rolls to a climactic end. Readers are given plenty of opportunity to cheer for the heroes, but also give them a piece of their inner lives so you truly care for them. The characters are relatable, the journey is grand, the bad guys are vile and scary in the best way, the good guys possess hearts of solid gold, making The Watchmen of Port Fayt a timeless classic for adventure readers. I look forward to seeing where the rest of their journey goes!
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