Genre: Young Adult; Coming of Age; Supernatural; Fantasy
This epic story begins about 5000 years ago, in Sumeria, as they came from outer space. Ancient gods, ascended masters, beings of light, above all war and fear. Ben, a 12-year-old orphan boy, born in the 1890s, must discover himself, what happened to his parents, his shamanic powers and legacy.
He might be the reincarnation of an ancient demigod, a Wolf Boy hero emerging from ancient Sumer (Sumeria). But what is really the connection he has with the gods…?? That is the mystery to uncover here. And this quest won’t be easy, because there will be dark forces, ghouls, necro creatures, curses, and much more against him.
In this quest, joined by his friends, he will also be guided by visons of his father, a great shaman. And he will have to recover a sacred artifact called ‘The Sphere of Truth and Wisdom.’ This orb holds the wisdom and magic of all shamans past. This orb also holds the capacity to open a portal into the spiritual world.
Probably my favorite type of fantasy is that which incorporates real-life spiritual/religious beliefs into its own lore. Another thing I love is alternate history, and Benjamin Jones’ story has both! But unlike the more popular routes of focusing on humanizing the beings from religious texts or accounting for the war on evil spiritual beings, Benjamin’s journey is one of awakening to a higher understanding of oneself and the universe.
This orphan’s exploration into the world of magic both without and within is a beautiful coming-of-age tale about the power of knowledge, kindness, positivity, determination, and believing in oneself. One might say it’s…enlightening. I should definitely think that young readers will feel the empowerment. Benjamin feels, as we all do at some point, that there is nothing remarkable about him. However, one intense dream begins to change all that…
On his path to discover his own identity and true potential, Benjamin is bombarded with a constant string of mostly unanticipated adventures. From native legends to old curses to prophecies and extraordinary secrets about the world as we know it, this book has got it all.
The author uses history theories; details from ancient, Native American, and more contemporary history; and details from ancient, Eastern, and tribal spiritual beliefs to weave this world that is so fantastical, yet so real. I don’t think I can properly talk about everything in a way that doesn’t make it seem convoluted- which I definitely do not want to do because while yes, there is a LOT packed into this story, it all fits together perfectly. So I’m just going to highlight a few aspects:
This is a book I could easily see being adapted to the big screen. As someone who has trouble with visualization, the author’s imagery skills really stood out to me. I could truly picture the various scenes of the adventure as if I had seen it with my own eye (eye, since I’m legally blind in one lol). The character development was also on point. Everyone stood out as their own person. My favorite side-story (and there are several, though they all eventually fit into the same timeline) was that of the necro-creature Gemlik. No doubt the most unique spin on such a being I have seen to date.
“Benjamin Jones: The Call of the Shaman” is a fast-paced, action-packed, challenging, mind-expanding read, yet easy to follow and with comical relief. I’d recommend to any lovers of fantasy, the young adult crowd, or anyone looking for an interesting, but light-hearted tale. I have the next book already and will be diving in soon!
((Reviewed on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble))
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
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