Sure, the glass castle floating over Evan’s head makes him uneasy, but that’s the least of his worries. With each step inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, he must battle against his worst nightmares. One after the other, wispy smoke-filled bull sharks come at him — he must remember they’re only illusions pulled from his imagination by those dreaded shadowlike hands. If only the vengeful dragon circling above was also an illusion and didn’t have his mind set on destroying the one person who can control him: Emrys.
Inside the castle’s glass tower, Emrys sleeps in an eternal slumber, and Evan’s uncertain whether he can save the great wizard. Especially now that Emrys’ former student, the Lady of the Lake, has joined forces with the cunning immortal Alamaz. Together they have already stolen the Dragon’s Egg, but their greed doesn’t end there. The Siren’s Pearl calls to them, and that means only one thing … Atlantis is in trouble.
Join Evan, Claire, and Dunkle — along with a few other unlikely heroes — as they travel across the realm of Medieval Legends, float through the Ancient Isle of Avalon, plunge inside the Dungeon of Dreadful Dreams, and be there when Atlantis rises once again.
Thank you, Mrs.H.B. Bolton
The Serpent’s Ring, the first book in the Relics of Mysticus series, was published in 2012. How has the series evolved since?
Although Evan and Claire’s adventures were set into motion because of the main antagonist of the series (Alamaz) in the first two books, they had only caught glimpses of him. Alamaz finally steps forward in the third book and is truly seen for the first time. Also the story dives deeper into the characters’ backstories. I believe readers will be surprised to discover a few secrets Dunkle has been withholding from Evan and Claire.
There are many fantastic stories being told today: take for example the Harry Potter series, where kids are whisked away to an imaginary place filled with magic, mythical creatures, and adventurous characters. Honestly though, I’m more focused on the stories that resonate with me and forget about the ones that don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I pick up a book, but if I’m not engaged in the first chapter, I don’t continue reading and tend to forget it.
The Goodreads description of the volume says: “Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson.” Are there any disadvantages of such a recommendation?
A disadvantage would become apparent if a reader isn’t a fan of Percy Jackson and then didn’t bother to read my book. But I would rather be honest with potential readers than to mislead them in any way. There are many similarities between the two series because of the age of the characters and their connection to ancient mythology. A big difference is that the Percy Jackson books focus on Greek mythology, whereas my stories introduce many different mythologies and legends. Also a large majority of Percy Jackson’s adventures keep him in our modern-day world, where ancient Greek gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures have integrated themselves so as to blend in. My characters travel inside each realm of mythology, and the modern day world remains “normal.”
Your heroes travel across the realm of Medieval Legend. How free is an author to change the legends, and is there some element that must remain unchanged?
I spent a ton of time gathering information for each mythological realm used in my books — ranging from gods/goddesses, monsters, and magical creatures — to learning more about each time period: architecture, appropriate clothing, native food, and furniture. I enjoy bringing mythological characters to life with as much historical accuracy as possible, but then I offer a little twist. For example, I had learned that flibbertigibbets — from medieval legends — were known as tempters in the form of winged serpents who enjoyed whispering into one’s ear. I imagined that perhaps one would appear as an adorable, kittenlike creature who could lure Evan away from his friends, only before changing into a hideous, evil creature … but I don’t wish to give too much away. To answer your question, most of what I write is based on research but with a tremendous amount of artistic freedom.
How much of your stories are from the teacher side of you? Does the middle-grade author have any special responsibility toward her readers?
My hope is that authors of children’s and middle-grade books take into consideration that the stories are meant for young/impressionable readers. I like to see children inspired and excited, not pulled into a dark world with excessive violence, drug use, vulgarity, and such. I don’t know about you, but when I’m truly pulled into a book, the residue from the story stays with me. Let kids be kids, and I believe it’s OK to cocoon them inside a happy bubble for a spell — it might be the only time they can escape what surrounds them in their daily life. Having said that, my next series will go to a darker place, but the stories will be meant and marketed for a mature young-adult audience.
About the author:
characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women’s fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that’s another story, altogether.
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