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Book Review

This fantasy novel by Tony Abbott is the second in the " The Secrets of Droon" series and is published by Scholastic Inc.

Journey to the Volcano Palace 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

Eric Hinkle dreams that an evil sorcerer, Lord Sparr, is chasing him. Sparr threatens to keep Eric in the magical world of Droon because the boy has discovered a secret. Eric flees through a dark tunnel only to take a wrong turn and wind up in a dead end. Before Sparr can catch him, Eric wakes up.

Later, when he talks with his best friends, Julie and Neal, he discovers each of them has dreamed of Droon, as well. They previously had traveled to the mystical land and helped free Princess Keeah from Lord Sparr. The children take their dreams as a sign that the enchanted staircase located in Eric's basement may reappear soon. After his mother asks him to clean the basement, Eric and his friends find the staircase and return to Droon.

It is night in Droon, and the friends find themselves in a desert. They climb to the top of a sand dune and see a striped tent. Inside it, they meet their friend, Keeah; the old wizard, Galen; and his huge pet spider, Max. Neal tries to sit on a purple pillow, but he discovers it's a creature called a Lumpy. Khan, the king of the Lumpies, explains that Lord Sparr attacked one of their villages with his special jewel, the Red Eye of Dawn. Sparr took it from Keeah the last time Eric and his friends visited Droon. The jewel burned the evil sorcerer when he used it on the Lumpies and fled before he could totally destroy them.

Galen explains that the jewel controls fire, wind, waves and the sky. Keeah believes Sparr is hiding in a secret palace in a land called Kano. Eric, Julie and Neal agree to go with their Droon friends to retrieve the jewel before Sparr can use it again.

After journeying through the desert, they find the hidden gate to Kano. Lord Sparr's palace is located in a volcano. As they climb up the sides of the mountain, giant fire monsters appear. Galen orders Max and Khan to lead the children to the palace while he and the other Lumpies fight the monsters. Eric and his friends find a path and follow it deep inside the volcano. Lord Sparr appears, but Julie realizes it's just a hologram of the sorcerer. Before they can leave, two red-skinned guards, called Ninns, appear.

Eric and his friends escape the Ninns and find a lake. A mermaid named Demither rises from the water. Max warns the children that she is a witch, but she tells them she has been cursed by Lord Sparr and forced to do his will. She lets the children know that the jewel they seek is in the room of fire, which can only be attained by crossing the bridge of ice. She also tells Keeah that the princess's mother is alive and being kept a prisoner by Lord Sparr. Before Keeah can learn more about her mother's fate, Demither slides back under the water. The friends hear the footsteps of many Ninns approaching. Everyone, except Eric and Keeah, escapes before the Ninns arrive. Eric and Keeah hide behind a rock and watch as the guards lead in a huge and hideous beast. As the beast drinks the water from the lake, it transforms into Lord Sparr. The children wonder whether the Red Eye of Dawn caused this transformation. Julie and Neal, who have escaped, and the others reunite with Keeah and Eric, but Lord Sparr finds them.

When Eric tells Sparr that he's seen the beast, the sorcerer tells Eric that he can never leave Droon. He chases Eric and his friends through the dark tunnels that Eric has dreamed about. He gets separated from the others and finds the room containing the Red Eye of Dawn. It is mounted on an armored glove and protected by a pool of lava and a glass dome.

Eric circles the lava until he spots the bridge of ice. He has to cross over the molten rock, which spurts up like a fountain around him. When he reaches the glove containing the jewel, he puts it on, discovering the jewel acts like a gun, shooting bolts of light that blow up the rocks around him, as well as the ice bridge. The whole room starts to crumble. Keeah and the others find Eric, and the princess uses her magic to stop the glove from randomly blasting things. Then Keeah points it at the far wall and uses it to make a hole they can escape through before Sparr and the Ninns capture them.

As they flee the volcano, they find Galen and the Lumpies. Eric gives the Red Eye of Dawn to the wizard, who commends them for their bravery. The group plans to rendezvous with Keeah's father, who has a ship waiting. They learn that their stairway home has also appeared not far from the ship. Galen, Max and the Lumpies ride away on large llama-like creatures called Pilkas, while the children climb aboard a magic carpet. The Ninns chase after them on their flying lizards called Groggles, but the children manage to outwit them.

When they reach the seashore, the children see the stairs. Eric, Neal and Julie bid good-bye to Keeah, who explains that the magic will tell them when they can return to Droon. The children climb the steps back to their own world and Eric's messy basement. Without a word, they set about cleaning it as they'd promised Eric's mother they would do.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

The world of Droon is filled with magic. Lord Sparr is evil and uses his magic to enslave others. Galen is a good wizard, who uses his power to help Keeah and the others fight Lord Sparr.

Authority Roles

Eric's mom checks to make sure he's OK when she hears him fall out of bed. The wizard Galen allows the children to seek a jewel, which puts them in danger. He helps them by fighting the fire monsters.

Profanity/Violence

Lord Sparr is frightening in appearance, with two large fins growing out of his head. Eric and his friends face many dangers in Droon, but the action is not graphic in nature.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

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

  • Galen has told the children to keep Droon a secret in their world, including their parents.
  • Should children keep secrets from their parents?
  • Should children trust adults who ask them to do this?
  • What might happen if they told their parents?

  • Eric and his friends have strange dreams about Droon before they return, all foretelling something that will happen there.

  • Have you ever had a weird dream?
  • What was it?
  • God has used dreams as signs. Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41:15-32.

  • Appearances can be deceiving in Droon. Neal thinks the king of the Lumpies is a pillow. Lord Sparr is actually a hideous monster.

  • How do people judge others by their outward appearance?
    Why should you be careful not to judge someone by his appearance?
    Who can you trust to help you discern if someone is good or bad?

Additional Comments/Notes

Lying: When Eric's mother asks him where Droon is, he lies and says it's an imaginary world.


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.

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