Colm McElwain's James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra was published in February 2012.

Here's information about the author:

Colm was raised and educated in Monaghan, Ireland. He has a BA Hons in PE and likes reading books, watching films and playing sport. He has always loved storytelling, whether through literature or film. James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is his first novel and brings a very fulfilling creative experience spanning a number of years to an end.

Click here to visit the official website of the book.

Here's a description of James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra:

As an infant, James Clyde was deposited at a children's home by his wounded, blood-soaked grandfather. As a result, he grows up under a cloud of mystery. Eleven years later when he hears about his strange past, he vows to uncover the truth. But before he can, his grandfather hands him a magical and mysterious diamond of Orchestra. With the aid of his friends, Ben and Mary Forester, James must protect the diamond from evil forces. Soon, however, their lives are in grave danger. They are being hunted by a sinister man dressed in black and his blood-thirsty army. Outnumbered, James finds he must use the power of the diamond to escape their clutches - or become another victim of their murderous quest. So begins a journey that will transport them to an alternative world where they must confront the mysterious man in black for a final, winner-takes-all battle...

A REVIEW OF COLM MCELWAIN'S JAMES CLYDE AND THE DIAMONDS OF ORCHESTRA

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is a charming debut fantasy book for children and young adults. Colm McElwain has clearly written this book out of love for writing, because it's a thrilling adventure fantasy for readers who enjoy good storytelling.

Before I write more about this book, here's a bit of information about the plot:

At the beginning of the book James, Ben and Mary go to spend Christmas with James' grandfather, Wilmore Clyde. James is soon told that he isn't from Earth. His grandfather gives him a magical diamond of Orchestra and asks him to protect it. James finds out that he has to fight against evil, because according to a prophecy he will be the saviour of Orchestra...

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is an easily likeable and entertaining fantasy book, because the story moves fast forward and there aren't any dull moments. This book has several fantastic plot twists, which will keep readers glued to the book.

The short chapters make this book an ideal read for children (I think that children will love the way the author ends several chapters in cliffhangers).

The events take place on Earth and in Orchestra, which is another world and James' birthplace. Colm McElwain writes fluently about both worlds and their differences. He also writes interestingly about how a person can travel from one world to another.

Colm McElwain's worldbuilding is solid, the magical things are intriguing and the action scenes work well. The author writes fascinatingly about the past events and history of Orchestra (it was nice to read what had happened before and how James was sent from Orchestra to Earth). I think it's good that the author has taken time to write about the history, because it brings depth to the book.

The main characters - James, Ben and Mary - are likeable and interesting characters. They differ from each other, but they're close friends who look after each other. Wilmore is a bit mysterious, but likeable character, because he wants to protect James from evil forces. Grampian is a mysterious and fascinating character, because he's an orchin and he helps James and his friends.

The evil characters are also interesting characters. I won't reveal too many details about these characters, but I'll mention that Gilbert is a ruthless man who wants power. I'll also mention that Queen Abigail of Darken reminded me a bit of the evil queen in C. S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The author has invented fascinating evil creatures called the Dakotas. They're totally different from human beings, because they kill by instinct and don't have any feelings. It was thrilling to read about them.

There's quite a lot of action in this book and there's also violence and blood. People die in this book (for example, Wilmore is brutally murdered), but the author manages to avoid gory details and concentrates on the action and happenings.

I think it's possible that James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra will encourage several children to read more books. This book has just the right amount of action and adventure to keep readers interested in the plot so there's a chance that children, who read it, will want to read similar books.

It's easy to notice how much the author loves good old-fashioned fantasy stories, because this book is almost like a tribute to C. S. Lewis and other similar fantasy authors. Everybody who has read classic children's books will probably notice that Enid Blyton may have also been an inspiration to the author, because there's something about the characters which will remind readers of Enid Blyton's characters.

I enjoyed reading James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra, because it's a charming and thrilling young adult fantasy adventure. I'm sure that this book will appeal to fans of C. S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander and Enid Blyton (I think that it will also be of interest to fans of J. K. Rowling). I hope that the author will soon write more about James Clyde, because it would be nice to find out what happens next.

In my opinion James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is an excellent fantasy book for younger readers. I can recommend this book to everybody who likes well written and old-fashioned adventure stories with plenty of action.

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