The Last Storyteller


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The Last Storyteller, Book Four in The Pearls of Wisdom Series: Stories Inspired by a Biblical Proverb. Publishing in summer, 2023.

Reviewed by Doreen Chombu for Readers’ Favorite, 2023

The Last Storyteller by Catherine Ann Russell is a children’s fantasy and the fourth book in The Pearls of Wisdom series. In a mythical animal kingdom, Princess Journee, a mischievous mouse, sneaks out of the palace with her friends. They venture into the enchanted Zoe-Chai orchard that provides everlasting food and nourishment. The group experiences a magical moment that gives them supernatural abilities and gifts. Little do they know that the Zoe- Chai tree is preparing them for a war that will see them utilize these powers to protect their people and fight their enemies. The Zoe- Chai tree gives the orchard life and acts as a portal that attracts beings who wish to use it for evil. The only way to seal the portal is by possessing a magical staff forged by the elves. Unfortunately, a swarm of bats drawn to the tree has arrived and is ready to invade the peaceful animal kingdom. Journee and her friends are tasked to retrieve the staff, but will they succeed? Get a copy and find out what happens.

Action, drama, and suspense, The Last Storyteller by Catherine Ann Russell will give you all this and more. Brave animals defending their land and a group of young warriors discovering themselves amid a war kept me glued to the story. I loved reading every intriguing chapter; from the opening scene to the final battle, I was captivated and in awe. Russell does a fantastic job of bringing each character to life. At the back, creative illustrations help us visualize these characters and scenes. This unique story features various animals and mythical creatures living in harmony but ruled by a Mouse King. His size does not matter because his fearless spirit makes him a great leader. Journee’s development and realization of her gift is a beautiful plotline. We all are gifted with talents and can choose to use them for good or evil. This story will teach children about love, hope, and never giving up.

Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers’ Favorite, 2023

Long ago, the elves infused a simple acorn seed with powerful life magic, hoping it would grow and produce a bounty of food for them forever. They also forged a magic staff of pure gold and silver to protect the Tree, should its seed be successfully planted. But the Zoe-Chai seed they created had a mind of its own, with the ability to choose who would plant it. They lose the seed, which remains in the soil until a month ago when it decided to be found by the Great Mouse King. But with its power to provide every creature in the kingdom with an unquantifiable bounty comes a curse. The Zoe-Chai tree has drawn an alien army of bats from a hungry planet. They won’t hesitate to wipe out anyone who tries to stop them from getting to the Tree. As the king’s daughter, Journee, accompanied by friends, embarks on a quest that, if successful, could thwart the enemy’s plan, every creature, large and small, in the kingdom comes together to protect what’s theirs. But they are not fighting alone. The Tree has gifted them a light bearer, a seer, a healer, and a messenger. But will they be enough to stop a thousands-strong army endowed with many powers and lethal weapons designed for conquest and war? Read The Last Storyteller by Catherine Ann Russell to find out.

Nothing keeps you from enjoying this page-turner, whether you are 12 or 60. Fast-paced action starts in the first few minutes of reading, as dozens of small furry creatures clash and an enemy endowed with leather for wings and talons for limbs clash in a battle for survival. Then an exhilarating ride begins through adventure, suspense, thrills, and humor. The plot is fast-paced, and the storyline is smoothly developed. Catherine Ann Russell’s ability to describe events significantly influenced the plot’s advancement and my enjoyment of the story. I could see the cute family of rabbits stirring after a long sleep after being tumbled by a rolling bear. This was just one of the many scenes that captured my mind and emotions. Russell also includes illustrations to help us visualize the story’s environment. Despite many characters, each character is built through careful choice of language to describe their traits and prepare them for their roles. Although the characters are all animals, they are human, with strengths and flaws. I found the idea behind the story’s magic and mystery adventures to be something new and exciting. I am sure The Last Storyteller will be a respite from the stresses of everyday life as you lose yourself in a tale with positive values like kindness and love.

Reviewed by Philip Van Heusen for Readers’ Favorite, 2023

The Last Storyteller: Book Four in the Pearls of Wisdom Series by Catherine Ann Russell is a wonderful fantasy tale that will draw you into a world of wonder and awe. Weaving a compelling story is a powerful skill; pre-teens will be introduced to a beautiful kingdom led by the Great Mouse King. Rock hyraxes, alien bats, mice, horses, frogs, owls, eagles, and many other creatures appear. Throw into the mix, elves, and you have a complete tale that will entertain and teach. Providing for the kingdom is a magical tree called the Zoe-Chai Tree. You will learn about its magical powers and what powers it bestows on animals. But, of course, what story of magic would be complete without a battle? The author does not disappoint as the alien bats battle against all the kingdom’s animals, joined by the elves. Which magical power would you like? What are magical powers based on?

Catherine Ann Russell is a master storyteller, and her skill is seen in The Last Storyteller. Catherine drops gems of wisdom throughout the pages for young readers to find and contemplate. For example, what is the foundation of peace? Is it true that kindness will get you nowhere? One bit of wisdom is that “no two creatures are exactly alike because God designs each a special way.” Victory belongs to the combined efforts of the collective many. God gave work to help us. Without understanding the value of work, people tend to become lazy. The great lessons taught in this book include the value of work, friendship, commitment, loyalty, and truth. After reading it with your child, spend time communicating what values are worth developing and how they help in life.

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