Lost in the Mushroom Maze (Dungeoneer Adventures #1)

Lost in the Mushroom Maze (Dungeoneer Adventures #1)
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
May 31, 2022
ISBN
978-1665910699
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Coop Cooperson lives in the Land of Eem, a fantastical realm where many different species live together and there is always more magic to be discovered by those up to the task. The Dungeoneer Academy trains future explorers with classes like Dungeons and Mazes, Creatures and Critters, and Swords and Sorcery.

Coop believes in the academy’s mission and the Dungeoneer’s Code, but being the only human student can make it difficult to fit in—sometimes he wonders if he really belongs. Lucky for Coop, his best friend Oggie the bugbear has his back, as do the two other members of their exploring team, Daz the boggart and Mindy the imp. They have to rely on each other more than ever as the test for their Junior Dungeoneer Badges looms closer.

If Coop and his friends fail to run the final gauntlet in the fungal jungle, they will have to leave the academy. As future dungeoneers, they know to expect the unexpected, but nothing could prepare them for the adventure in store.

Editor review

1 review
Always do the right thing.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
What worked:
Coop is the only human at the Dungeoneer Academy but he’s the leader of the Green Team. He’s also the target of two academy bullies, and his best friend Oggie, a bugbear, is supportive but not much help when they attack. Oggie is pretty strong but he’s better at drawing than wrestling like others of his kind. Mindy, an imp, provides the brains for the team, while Daz, a cute and daring boggart, does many of the more physical tasks. The Green Team will need to learn to mesh their talents if they hope to pass their upcoming Final Gauntlet to avoid expulsion from the academy. The title refers to the final test, although the circumstances of the challenge are not what the characters expect. The artful illustrations don’t just accompany the text, as readers will miss important details if the pictures are skipped over.
Dungeoneers are like archaeological adventurers as they search for lost or undiscovered places. Surviving in a maze of giant mushrooms provides a taste of what this series will offer. The Green Team encounters dense vegetation that often becomes more lethal and dangerous than they expect. Giant beasts roam the wilderness, searching for prey to devour, and threaten the team’s survival, and even innocent-looking little mushrooms might feast upon unsuspecting characters. Coop’s paralyzing fear of spiders only magnifies the terrors found inside the maze.
The plot is told from Coop’s point of view, as he tries to lead his friends past challenges of all kinds. Coop battles with self-confidence throughout the whole book and his internal conflict isn’t resolved until the exciting climax. He doesn’t see himself as anything special and can’t understand what others might see in him. He has a secret crush on Daz that tends to distract his attention at times. Coop has tremendous respect for the Dungeoneer’s Code and he has it memorized and follows its tenets at all times. The first few refer to dungeoneers in general, while the others provide guidance while in the field. Never split the party, fortune favors the bold, and expect the unexpected are especially relevant rules.
What didn’t work as well:
Nothing comes to mind, so I won’t force myself to think of something.
The Final Verdict:
Always do the right thing. This book won’t make literary history, but it will be very entertaining for middle-grade readers. While it’s not the best book written, I can’t think of anything that didn’t work well. It has interesting characters, suspenseful action, evokes feelings, and describes good friends accepting each other and working together. I highly recommend you give it a shot.

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