Cristofo Wizard of Earth
by Dino Pietrobon

"I am Altarius the Prime, holder of the unique position of lead wizard for the animus realm of existence. Now what does that mean exactly, you might ask?"

Cristofo is a young man who becomes Altarius's charge because Cristofo has a destiny of which he does not become aware until he is on the threshold of his teen years. He is to be a wizard. Becoming a wizard involves many rewards and trials. Some of the rewards are his living as a prince with many material privileges, his relationship with Princess Myrina (to whom his betrothal is planned), and two friendly dragons who provide unusual transportation for the young couple. Of course, there is a complex history behind Cristofo's destiny. He and Altarius—an individual who can become comically verbose at times as he tries to relate many tales, characters, blessings, curses, and their necessities to the reader as well as to his young charge—face danger, betrayal, and nearly all of the flip side of Cristofo's erstwhile easy life. Cristofo must face all of the challenges, as have multitudes of other heroes and human beings before him, in order to be trained and ready for his new role.

This young adult novel has many of the major characteristics of an Otherworld or Arthurian fantasy. Pietrobon integrates the preternatural coming-of-age formula with wizardry. The result is a book that is loaded with characters and events to which young people may relate, especially in terms of the challenges, fear, and rewards of assuming roles as adults. The verbiage can seem excessive at times; however, Altarius is thorough in his descriptions and would repel condensation. The heroes, heroines, and villains are comfortably familiar for young adult fare and help provide for an enjoyable reading experience.

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