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Book Review

This fantasy novel by Adam Blade is the third in the " Beast Quest" series and is published by Scholastic Inc.

Cypher the Mountain Giant is written for ages 8 to 10. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Tom, the young blacksmith's apprentice, and his friend Elenna continue on their quest to free the land of Avantia from the torments of six beasts. They have already succeeded in releasing a dragon and a sea monster from the spell of the evil sorcerer Malvel. Now the two are trekking to the mountains where Cypher, a giant, has been causing avalanches that block the kingdom's trade routes.

After a mudslide nearly kills the friends, they discover the buried remains of a town named Colton. They come across a merchant trying to stop three villagers from stealing supplies for their families. Elenna's tamed wolf, Silver, frightens the men into dropping their bags and fleeing. When a rockslide traps the would-be robbers inside a house, the townspeople think it is justice, but Tom insists on freeing the men from their tomb. While others finally come to their aid, they soon realize that they will not be able to remove the boulders before the house is crushed with the men inside. Tom remembers a lesson from his blacksmith days: Everything has a breaking point. Tom uses his sword to split the rocks, leaving the men to clear the rubble.

Once the thieves are released, they reward Tom for his kindness with information they have about the giant. Cypher lives on a plain in the mountains. Tom and Elenna must follow the main trail but always take the path to the right. The friends follow the men's advice until Silver and Storm, Tom's horse, pull them to the left fork in the road. Another rockslide threatens to kill them. The friends are separated in the avalanche. Elenna and Silver are trapped in a cave. Tom tries to free them but can't before Cypher attacks. The giant is as tall as a tree and large as a house.

Tom must use a magic key given to him by Avantia's wizard, Aduro, to unlock the enchanted chain around Cypher's neck. The chain keeps Cypher bound to Malvel. Tom's success will save not only the kingdom, but also Elenna, since Tom can't free her from the cave until the giant is defeated. Tom leads Cypher away from Elenna and Silver and has to climb the giant to reach the magical lock. Cypher thrashes about and tries to force Tom off of him. Instead of Tom falling off of him, the two plunge over a cliff. Both manage to hang onto the ledge. Tom realizes that this might be his only chance to free Cypher. He climbs down Cypher's arm and reaches the lock. Once the enchanted chain falls away, Cypher is released from Malvel's spell. Tom points out a foothold for the giant to use in order to climb up the cliff. Cypher returns the favor and pulls Tom up behind him. Cypher then helps Tom free Elenna from the cave. Cypher rewards Tom with a tear that splashes onto the boy's shield.

Aduro the wizard appears and tells Tom that the giant's tear has given the shield new magic. If Tom ever finds himself falling from a great height, he need only hold the shield above his head, and it will slow his fall. The wizard also sends the two on their next quest. Tom and Elenna decide to spend the night with the townspeople, knowing they will need their strength to fight the new beast, but also knowing that together, they will be able to defeat any foe.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

The kingdom of Avantia used to be guarded by six magical beasts. Because of the chains around their necks, they have been forced to serve an evil wizard. Tom seeks to free them. Once Tom removes their enchanted chains, they revert back to their former selves, hiding from people but willing to protect them. Magic is common in the kingdom. Aduro represents good magic and Malvel, evil magic. Aduro wishes the children “good luck” on their next journey.

Authority Roles

Although young, Tom and Elenna are on their own to succeed in their quest. Other adults express concern for their safety, but none take an active role in helping the two. Aduro appears at the end of the book to congratulate them on their victory and guide them to their next battle.

Profanity/Violence

Tom and Elenna's lives are threatened throughout the book by various natural disasters caused by Cypher. Although told in exciting detail, their trials are not exceedingly graphic. Cypher is as tall as a tree with hands that end in yellow claws. Before he is freed from the enchanted chain, he hunts Tom and tries to kill him.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • Rockslides cut off the town of Colton from their supply routes.
  • What do some of the men resort to in order to feed their families?
  • What could they have done instead of stealing?

  • What do the townspeople believe is fair punishment for the crimes of the thieves?

  • What does Tom insist they do?
  • Whom do you think was right?
  • Would you have forgiven the men if they had stolen from you?
  • How was Tom rewarded for his mercy?

  • Elenna risked her life to save her pet wolf, Silver.

  • What, or who, is important enough in your life that you would risk your life to save them?

  • In what way is Tom a hero?

  • What are the qualities that make a person heroic?
  • Is there someone you look up to as a hero? Explain.

  • Tom and Elenna have already faced many dangers when Aduro tells them the worst still lies ahead.

  • If you were Tom and Elenna, how would his words have made you feel?
  • Would your successes have made you more confident or would the knowledge you'd gained make you more afraid?

Additional Comments/Notes


Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

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