The Light Dweller ISBN: 9780692888582, an e-book novel by Miguel Lopez de Leon.
Plot: Ben Winter is a 12-year-old boy who has been repeatedly bullied at school and has parents that feel ‘he should learn to fight back’, a reaction that is not available to him for a number of reasons. Suddenly, his grandmother passes away and they move across the country to her huge, very old home. He still is left pretty much alone by his parents and explores only to discover the house had fascinating cellar rooms that, in turn, lead further downward into intriguing tunnels. While exploring, he suddenly loses his footing and falls into a fast-moving underground river that carries him at a sometimes startling pace deeper and deeper into the earth. Finally the river slows and he comes upon a lake guarded by a huge watery warrior. From this discovery the youngster is thrown into a remarkable series of adventures with visitations from his first arrival at the City/State of Gren to Cindel, where the inhabitants are mushroom-like characters who communicate by mental telepathy; to Depthis, inhabited by humanoid sea creatures; and Rist, the land populated by Lost Children who viciously control the individual’s mind. Successfully completing the journey, he arrives back only to discover Gren to be under attack by shadowy zombies and the story proceeds to an end with a perfect position from which to launch a sequel.
Discussion: Miguel Lopez Di Leon is well known for his stories about, and for, young readers and again has provided interestingly portrayed characters in most unusual settings and has moved them through a story that maintains a fast-moving pace. It fundamentally is a story of a lonely young boy caught in a never-ending battle between light and darkness is able to make and follow decisions to ‘do the right thing’ to triumph over adversity.
5* for targeted audience