Sometimes adventure knocks. Other times, it kicks the door in.
"Dearest Alexandria and Ozymandias,
If you are reading this, I have perished. My demise likely involved some manner of spiked pit or curiously fanged beast, so it’s doubtful I suffered long. Do not try to find me—the path is too perilous, and I am lost to the mortal plane. "
When Alex and Ozzie read their grandfather’s latest “death” letter, they barely blink. Dying six times in two years has to be a record, even for an explorer as incompetent as Sir Quidby Forsythe III.
Faster than you can say “kidnapped by a giant, glowing lizard,” the Forsythe twins are dragged into a world of ancient prophecies, sarcastic swords of legend, mutant slime beasts, and a growing awareness their grandfather might be the greatest explorer in history.
With Skhaar the Annihilator hot on their trail, Ozzie and Alex must solve the mystery of Sir Quidby’s disappearance before they become the final victims of the Forsythe Curse.
Debunked is the first book in the Terravenum Chronicles, a young adult science fantasy series, written by Dito Abbott. I read it as part of the SPSFC2 semifinals, and honestly, it was a fun read, but it didn't connect with me as well as I would have liked, despite I love many of the elements, such as the humorous style and the steampunk vibes.
A story in the style of a classic escapist adventure, where our two main characters, Ozy and Alex, get an object that will make them travel to the fantastical land of Terravenum in order to search for their uncle, all aboard a steampunk dirigible, with a rather strange crew, but with characters that grow into you.
And overall, I found the story to be quite engaging and interesting, with a world that was amazing to explore, with steampunk vibes that were great. Some funny touches here and there, and a world that is kinda crazy, making it a story with some Indiana Jones vibes.
Honestly, a really enjoyable story, but with some problems that decreased the rating, especially in the first half of the book, before reaching Amnesia. Written humor is really complicated to do well, and while this first half is funny, it is difficult to follow what's happening sometimes, because most of the time it is diluted between jokes.
The pacing is kinda strange, because there is a ton of action scenes in this first half, becoming sometimes tiring.
All of those problems get solved in the second half, where the book certainly increases the level, and where all the silly-goofy things start making more sense; certainly I would say Amnesia became my favourite part of the book.
In general, a solid book, that will be perfect if you like escapism and fun adventures. Do you like Indiana Jones? Try Debunked. Come for the adventures and stay for the fun!
Dito (rhymes with “Cheetoh”) Abbott was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and sailed around the world with his family by the age of twenty-seven.
His debut YA Fantasy novel, Debunked, draws on his love for adventure, googly-eyed slime beasts, and sarcastic swords of legend.
Dito lives in Phoenix with his wife, two daughters, and an invisible dragon named Clyde.