Mightier Than the Sword: Review & Giveaway of a Uniquely Interactive Middle Grade Fantasy

October 10, 2019 Current Giveaways, Reviews 28 ★★★★½

Mightier Than the Sword: Review & Giveaway of a Uniquely Interactive Middle Grade FantasyMightier Than the Sword by Drew Callander, Alana Harrison
Illustrator: Ryan Andrews
Series: Mightier Than the Sword #1
Also in this series: The Edge of the Word
Published by Penguin Workshop on July 16, 2019
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 320
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: MG (Some MG-level violence)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Wildly funny and inventive, this interactive book pulls you, the reader, into the action. Yes, YOU!
You wake up in the fictional land of Astorya, where stories from our world come to life. You're a real human being (we assume), and in this fictional world, that makes you a superhero. Armed with your trusty pencil you have the power to create: what you write, draw, or scribble in the book becomes part of the story!

Only you can rescue Prince S. from the evil Queen Rulette. Aided by the Couriers--a French stoat with dangerous dance moves, a giant dung beetle, a fire ninja, a Pegasus-centaur-cowgirl and a super-intelligent femalien chameleon--you must write, draw, and puzzle your way through a hilarious adventure that is unique to every reader! And most importantly, you must prove that the pencil is mightier than the sword.

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A uniquely interactive middle grade fantasy adventure that puts the reader right into the story! I’ve never read a book quite like this before, and I doubt you have either. First off, the book is told in second person POV—“you” are the star of the show. The book starts out with you waking up in a strange world. You (conveniently) have no memory of who you are and your goal is to regain your memories and return home—wherever that may be. Except this place you’ve ended up in is … strange. And thus begins your fantasy adventure!

The book incorporates lots of interactive elements. You discover that you are an actual human in a world of stories, and you therefore have the ability to write or draw things into existence. Because of this, you often get to create your own aspects of the world via a Mad Libs type fill-in. The reader then imagines their own creation in the story, which is great fun! In addition, there are places that you can draw things, puzzles you need to solve, and even a Choose Your Own Adventure element at one point. It all leads to a unique reading experience that truly makes you feel part of the adventure!

The story itself is engaging and humorous (it does sometimes veer toward middle-grade-level gross-out humor, which isn’t my favorite, but I concede that lots of kids love it). And the book has a madcap cast of supporting characters you’re sure to love, from a crazy French stoat who hypnotizes his enemies with an insane dance to a ninja girl, to a group of wacky outlaws. Basically, this book is great fun—I read it almost straight through and never had the urge to set it down. The book deserves accolades for its creativity alone, but the story will also draw kids in and get them excited to read about their own crazy adventure into a world of imagination!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Watch for my review of book 2: The Edge of the Word, which will be released on November 5th!


About the Authors

Drew Callander and Alana Harrison love to crack jokes, talk in funny voices and read aloud. Imagine their delight to discover that they could combine all these “skills” to write books together. In addition to writing books, they’ve worked as actors, improv comedians, filmmakers, animators, and puppeteers. They spent many years reading and performing kids’ original stories, which gave them the idea to invent Astorya, a world where all the wonderful weirdness of kids’ imaginations could live in one place. They hope the Mightier Than the Sword series will inspire readers to harness the power of their own creativity in our world.

At this point in an author biography, you usually find out where the authors live. We’d like to tell you where Drew and Alana live, but they won’t stay put. In the last three years, they’ve lived in three different states and three different countries. And they are still on the go. Who knows? They could be moving to your town next.

Aside from writing books together, they also have made cartoons together and written and performed many a stage show in New York City. Drew also started the theatrical phenomenon, Story PiratesIf you’re interested in name-dropping, between the two of them, they have had the good fortune to work creatively with John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Kristen Schaal, Conan O’Brien, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, David Wain, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, and Nick Offerman. Their work has appeared on MSNBC, NBC, Sirius XM Radio and Comedy Central. You can also currently hear Drew on the hit podcast Orbiting Human Circus with Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel (to drop yet another name).

Author Links:

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Illustrator Links:

1 winner will receive a finished paperback of MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD, US Only.

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28 Responses to “Mightier Than the Sword: Review & Giveaway of a Uniquely Interactive Middle Grade Fantasy”

  1. Sam@wlabb

    What a fun concept! It seems like a great way to get somewhat reluctant readers to buy in too.

  2. Mehsi

    Ohhh~ this book sounds fabulous (and I love those covers). I just love it when books involve the reader, either by letting them write their own stuff, Choose Your Own choices, or fourth wall breaking.

    Definitely going to be putting this one on my list of books I need to check/read. I am always looking for more MG/children’s books to read.

  3. Debra Branigan

    This sounds so unique and highly motivating for those certain readers! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Melissa L.

    I think it sounds like a really clever book. I love how it literally draws the reader into the story!

  5. Melissa L.

    Such a fun story for kids! I like that they can write in it, and make it their own. Although, I hope it can erase easily if they want to start over again.

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