Monday, May 18, 2015

Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti

Twelve year old Joshua Cooper has been living with his grandfather, Bo Chez, ever since he was a baby.  The two have always moved a lot, but now they are once again settled in a new place and Joshua finally has a best friend.

Or he does until one night very stormy night.   While playing a fateful game of Hide and Seek, Joshua sees his best friend grabbed by a hand and suddenly disappear out the attic window in a burst of bright lightning right in front of his eyes.  Then, after Finn disappears, Joshua hears a laugh and is threateningly told he will be next.  But next for what and where's Finn?

Determined to get Finn back from wherever he has been taken, Joshua races downstairs, grabs a flashlight and the round crystal orb and photo of his mother his grandfather keeps in a box.  He may not know what the orb is for, but he feels the needs to take it with him.  Back at the attic, Joshua waits and sure enough, in flashes of lightning, he finds himself grabbed and next thing he knows, he's waking up in a guarded compound right in the midst of a crowd of other boys and girls.

Joshua has ended up in the world of Nostos, a scary place full of the now fallen-from-power descendants of the Greek Olympians, and where children who are kidnapped on earth are taken there to be auctioned off as slaves to whomever needs workers.  Joshua finds himself, along with his new friend Charlie whom he met in the compound, bought by the evil power hungry Hekate to work in the Power Mill.  There, they are expected to run in giant wheels generating power for Nostos.  Quickly assessing that Finn hasn't been taken there, Joshua and Charlie escape to look for him elsewhere.

Their escape begins an adventure of epic proportion for Joshua and Charlie.  And it doesn't take long for Hekate to suspect that the long prophesied Oracle has arrived on Nostos, a prophesy she has good reason to fear - the Oracle could restore full power to the Olympian heirs and, using their powers for good, would end her own evil quest for full power.  Soon, the chase is on, with Joshua and Charlie looking for Finn, now accompanied by Leandro and Sam, who both has personal reasons for wanting to abandon Nostos and go to Earth.  And along the way, Joshua discovers some real surprises about who he is.

Joshua and the Lightning Road is an exciting story with something for everyone.  Galanti has created a world where one wrong step could cause you to simply fall of its edge into nothingness, and where Greek mythology comes to life for the readers in a full on good vs. evil power struggle, where creatures are both magical and scary, and where you have to be very careful about whom to trust,   And the only way to get there or get home to earth is via the Lightning Road and that is no easy task.

Joshua is a great main character.  He is loyal to his friend Finn, to the point of traveling to an unknown place to rescue him and he never wavers or loses sight of his goal.  He is such a determined and stubborn kid who refuses to let obstacles get in his way.  But he also has good instincts and the sense to trust them, especially concerning Sam and Leandro, whose help and familiarity with Nostos and the powers that be come in very handy for finding and rescuing Finn.  

If you like fantasy books about friendship and family, loyalty and courage and especially about the meaning of home, Joshua and the Lightning Tree is the book for you.  And is these things aren't your cup of tea, give a whirl anyway - you may be pleasantly surprised.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was sent to me by the author, Donna Galanti


  1. Alex, thanks so much for reading and reviewing Joshua and the Lightning Road! I'm so glad you enjoyed this 'epic adventure'! Book 2, Joshua and the Arrow Realm, will be out midwinter and it's more beasts, bandits and mayhem. :)

    1. You're welcome, Donna. It was my pleasure to read Joshua and the Lightning Road and I look forward to reading Book 2 when it comes out.

  2. This sounds like a very exciting read. Parts of your review had me thinking about the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and then I was reminded of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. I have a feeling kids are going to love Joshua and the lightning road. It certainly sounds exciting enough to grab their imaginations.

    1. Yes, it was exciting and I was also reminded of those two booksm but just a little bit. I agree that kids will find Joshua and love it, too.


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