Thursday, March 12, 2015

Great YA Fiction: Palace of the Twelve Pillars (A Review)

Following up on last week's post in the series How to Stay Married 10 Years & Then Some, here's a review of post author Christina Weigand's young adult Christian fantasy book, Palace of the Twelve Pillars. 

Good children's literature is essential to building a Christian culture by showing rather than teaching the values of our faith.  Jesus spoke in parables because he knew the worth of a good story. Palace of the Twelve Pillars is exactly that.

Chris Weigand's entertaining book draws kids into a classic allegory of good vs. evil by focusing on the familiar tension of sibling rivalry.  The twin princes, Joachim and Brandan, are opposite personality types.  Faith and magic, learning and love, come easily to Joachim. Brandan, who constantly struggles, resents his brother's abilities.

Overlaying this central dramatic conflict is the battle between the forces of the good deity Asha, represented by the twins' father King Theodric, and the forces of the evil deity Sidramah, represented by the neighboring King Waldrom who once loved the twins' mother Queen Lilia.

Joachim is by far the most well-developed character. When he is captured by King Waldrom and exposed to the evil deity Sidramah, he becomes inwardly tortured by false memories of having killed his father.  Although I love the name of the character Queen Lilia -- it's almost identical to my oldest daughter's name -- the queen herself is over-excitable and somewhat unworthy of her role as a wise and just monarch. To my great delight, Queen Lilia received a much-deserved comeuppance at the end of the book.

Palace of the Twelve Pillars is the first in a trilogy, followed by Sanctuary of Nine Dragons and Palace of the Three Crosses. I would recommend this book mostly for middle-schoolers, although I did ask my fourth grader Maria to read it since her level is fairly advanced.  We had a terrific time discussing the Biblical analogies that she did and didn't catch.  Here's her review:

Maria's Review of Palace of the Twelve Pillars
Palace of the Twelve Pillars combines fantasy and religion. I love both so this book is amazing to me! While I was reading I noticed that Asha is God's character and Sidramah is the devil's.
My favorite part of the book is when Brandan wants to go searching for Joachim even though he's a little jealous of him. This is my favorite  part because it reminds me of my sister Marguerite and me. Sure we get jealous of each other and it does include some pushing, shoving, and pulling hair, but we love each other so deeply just like Brandan and Joachim.
My least favorite part is when Brandan stabs Joachim in the shoulder. He literally stabbed him in the back!  Joachim was just trying to help Brandan because he was hurt. This reminds me of God and Satan. God created and loved Satan but Satan betrayed him. Just like how Brandan betrayed Joachim. 
Out of 10 stars I would give this book 9 1/2 and I'm a VERY hard grader! I think many religion and fantasy lovers would enjoy this book as much as I did or even more.

by Maria Santos, age 10 


  1. Thank you so much. Reading these reviews was better than the paid reviews I received in the past and from a ten year old no less. I loved it and I'm glad to see it getting into the hands of the people I want to read it and that the message is being heard.

    1. I'll tell Maria. She'll be so thrilled you liked her review!

    2. If you give me her address I can send her postcards and bookmarks for the series. I can send one or a bunch that she could pass out to her friends.

    3. Maria would feel very special to receive something in the mail from an author. Sending you our address via email!

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  2. Bingo! As a children’s reading specialist I can tell you this is like hitting a ‘Home Run!’ When a child this age can extrapolate and transfer meaning from the text to real life situations then they have been able to comprehend the text quite well. I have to give praise to the author for her clarity in writing for enabling the child to be able to do this. A big shout out to you, author Chris Weigand!

  3. As a mother of six, I'm happy to hear wise words from a reading specialist. Many thanks, Lorraine!