Will Wilder #1: The Relic of Perilous Falls Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-18 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 171 user ratings

"This book has been compared to Percy Jackson, and I can see why. It's pretty fast paced, has a snarky twelve-year-old boy for it's main character, and involves religion. In some ways, the fact that Catholicism is treated in a similar way as ancient-Greek-paganism fills me with nervousness. If you're writing a book pretending that the Greek gods exist then it's not hard to create all sorts of magical items and such that fit into that world. I am Catholic, and I understand things that this book referred to such as describing relics as 'keys to faith,' but it makes me nervous that (view spoiler)" said.

"Great stuff warred with uncomfortable stuff warred with stuff that made no sense.

It's another one of those "Here are huge secrets that nobody could help but believe that could easily destroy the whole world that people ought to be prepared for and guard against that we keep totally secret BECAUSE REASONS. Here are valuable artifacts that could easily change the entire world for better that we keep locked away BECAUSE WE SAY SO. Here are mystical powers that anybody could have one of that could keep humanity safe and revolutionize the world that we will never tell anyone about BECAUSE 'Y' IS A CROOKED LETTER AND YOU OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER, OKAY? QUIT ASKING QUESTIONS!"

If that was the only problem, it would still be a good book. (Why is there a massive secret booby trap in the crypt under the cathedral? Surely some test of purety of heart instead of "have you read this text?" would be better at keeping the riffraff out? Why don't they just show people what these artifacts do? Even if some people didn't believe them, a whole lot would! These people could then be trained! Who were the approximately 1,000 specialist workmen it would have taken to build all these complex traps and secret tunnels anyway, and why don't they just tell anyone how the traps they made work...or you know, mention -- ever -- the project they and 999 others have been spending the last six months on? Who rebuilds the astonishing mosiac floor after every time it falls away as part of the challenge, anyhow? How was all this stuff financed? Why in a digital world are there monster attacks repeatedly in places filled with people and lots of eyewitnesses and nobody ever whips out a phone and films or takes a picture? Why not warn people, "Hey, monsters in the river?")

It had a lot of good.
I still might have kept reading if it wasn't about catholic artifacts, scriptures, 'people who were close to God' ... and the main character is a particularly unworthy hero. He cheats, lies, grumbles, is ungrateful, steals, flouts legitimate authority, makes life-threatening bets, is selfish, etc, without a twinge of conscience. I'm not asking for a saint here. But many books have heroes with particularly good intentions (even the pickpockets) ...this kid is sub-average. And then he's supposed to be some golden destined hero come to lead the forces of light. It just doesn't work.

The writing is good, the action is crisp and exciting, the older characters are really cool. It's a great set-up and fun world building.
Oh, well.
" said.

"I read this book and I did really enjoy it. But it reminded me of other books and series. It reminded me a bit of the 39 Clue Series, it also reminded me a lot of the The Grey Griffins Series by Jon S. Lewis and Derek Benz, and also of Roland West, Loner by Theresa Linden The book does have a great pace, is full of surprises, and it is a fun read. But again as I was reading it I kept comparing it to other books and series I had read. I finished this book a few months ago and have picked up book 2, but book two keeps getting bumped in my reading list because of those nagging but's. I did really enjoy the explicitly Catholic element of the story. In many ways it is like a young Catholic Indiana Jones story. I can't wait until my son is a little older and will reread this book with him.

Will Wilder seems to have a knack for getting in trouble. He is head strong. Smart; and some might say a little too smart. But with an emerging gift and a darkness rising. Will's impulsive behaviour might put a lot more at risk than just his own hide and that of his friends and family. The book is full or surprises, and finding out that Great Aunt Lucille is much more than a curator is one of the biggest. As darkness is on the rise, Will along with his close friends must put things right and fix the mess that Will has created.

The writing in this book is very solid. It is the first of Arroyo's fiction that I have read. I am part way through a couple of his non-fiction works. The pace is good, the characters flesh out well, even if Will's growth is rather rapid. But when one is thrusted into extreme situations it is usually sink or swim and he does an admirable job of keeping his head above water. There are some great secondary characters like Shen and Bart are a great addition to the story. Along with his aunt and his friends Simon and Andrew it is time to face an ancient enemy and to battle darkness.

There are a number of illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo. These pencil sketches have a lot of details in them and help bring the story vividly to life. The book has previously been published as Kerman Derman and the Relic of Perilous Falls I am not sure I would have ever picked it up with the original title and cover. But I am glad I did for it was an enjoyable read and I look forward to more in the series.

I especially enjoyed the prologue giving us some background going back to the Nazi's and WWII. It was a great set up for the story. Overall a really good read. If it was not so similar to other books and series I had read would likely have been a 5 out of 5 stars. I do look forward to reading book 2 and rereading this volume with my son in a year or two. And looking forward to more reads from Arroyo in the future.

Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!
" said.

" Good action adventure. Interested in reading the next in the series to see how the main character grows. Apparently many in the Wilder family have special gifts that help fight evil in the world. " said.

" It's Indiana Jones for the 8-13 boy reader crowd. I listened to it on audio read by the author and there's humor, adventure and more books to come! " said.

" Good book with a Gravity Falls-like style. " said.

" This book was awesome. I love how in this book the reader and Will remain oblivious for most of the book. Then when the explaining happens it's easy to understand but also complex. I would recommend this book to all who love to read stories about powerful objects. " said.

" This gets two stars only because Arroyo has done some really great nonfiction work for adults. The book itself is a mess of cartoonish characters, sloppy Biblical references, and appallingly ham-fisted social commentary. Long review coming soon. " said.

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