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Kamilla Reid – The Questory of Root Karbunkulus: Item I: Miist

July 21, 2008

91. The Questory of Root Karunkulus: Item I: Miist by Kamilla Reid (2007)
Root Karbunkulus, Book 1

Length: 307 pages

Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy

Started: 18 July 2008
Finished: 20 July 2008

Read my summary and review of the book.

Read my Q & A with the author, Kamilla Reid.

Enter to win your own copy of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus

Summary: Part Harry Potter, part Alice in Wonderland, and part The Amazing Race, this book pits teens against each other on a treasure hunt for magical items through the world of DréAmm, a place of magic and monsters, weirdos and wonders. Root Karbunkulus lives in a “halfhouse” with her two grotesque adoptive aunts who treat her as their servant, until one day she receives an invitation to participate in the great Quest of DréAmm, a world “three feet above” this one. She soon learns that she was born in DréAmm, but sent to live on Earth for her own protection – which means that she, like everyone else in that world, has magical abilities (although they don’t seem to be manifesting themselves yet.) The Quest is a magical treasure hunt where teams of three must race to find artifacts from legend – the first being Kalliope’s Miist, a substance of incredible healing powers. Root, along with teammates Lian, son of a powerful government official, and Dwyn, a charming and talkative orphan, must follow clues, survive great danger, solve riddles and mysteries, and outwit the other teams if they want to find one of the vials of Miist – and stay in the game!

Review: First, I’d like to suggest that anyone interested in this book go check out Kamilla Reid’s website – it’s gorgeously done and full of information about the author and the book (beware of a few minor spoilers in the character listing, though.)

This book was an enjoyable if not particularly serious or meaty read. It’s pretty standard quest/adventure story fare, with plenty of peril and danger and riddle-solving and feats of bravery and really creepy monsters, but the idea of having the quest be an actual competitive treasure hunt is a interesting twist. Root, Lian, and Dwyn are fun to watch interacting with each other and with the other teams, and there are charming bits of wit and humor sprinkled throughout the book. It’s not a particularly subtle book – the moral lessons are all right out on the surface – but I think that it’s appropriate for the age level to which it’s aimed. There’s also not much background or explanation given (presumably much of the backstory is being left for future sequels) and pertinent questions about why so many children were sent away, why is the Quest being held at all, why are only children participating, what’s the big evil they’re fighting, etc., etc. are never explained satisfactorily (if at all). That lack makes it feel a lot like an action movie – plenty of exciting adventure and visceral entertainment, but not a lot of complexity to provide satisfaction on an intellectual level. Again, understandable for the first book in a series, and probably fine from the perspective of middle-grade readers that make up the target audience, but for older readers, it keeps this book from having the impact of other ostensibly young-adult fantasy (like Harry Potter, for instance).

Additionally, older readers be warned that this book needed to spend some quality time in the loving arms of a copyeditor. It’s got a distracting number of grammatical, punctuation, and usage errors (mostly a lack of commas where commas needed to be, although I spotted at least two its/it’s mistakes as well), which is a shame. As exciting as the story itself was, I had a hard time losing myself in Reid’s world, since I kept wanting to reach for my red pen. It’s unfortunate, since I think this book depends on the reader getting swept up in Root’s adventures, and the errors bothered me enough that I could never quite leave the real world behind for the imagination of DréAmm. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Best suited for middle-grade readers who enjoy magical adventure stories. Older readers are likely to be entertained as well, even if it doesn’t quite rival the greats of the genre.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Book Website, Book Trailer

Other Reviews: Bookfoolery and Babble, The Friendly Book Nook, The Book Connection, The Bluestocking Society

First Line: “Someone’s coming!”


  • p. 20: “Below, her two new aunties heard not a sound as they were far too busy celebrating with luke-warm beer and buttered kohlrabi fresh from the neighbor’s garden.” – a cultivated cabbage, Brassica oleracea gongylodes, whose stem above ground swells into an edible, bulblike formation.
  • p. 21: “Her hair, long and flocculent, hinted of gold and raspberries and the fair complexion of her cheeks gave way to a light dusting of freckles and Indigo eyes, which had deepened considerably from the remarkable fluorescent shade she had arrived with.” – like a clump or tuft of wool.

Kamilla Reid graciously agreed to do a Q & A to go along with my review of the book – I tried to find some fun questions that weren’t already answered elsewhere.

It says on your website (which is lovely, by the way), that your book was partially inspired by “The Amazing Race”. If you were to participate on that show, what’s the one place you most hope they’d send you? What’s one place/challenge that you absolutely hope they’d avoid?
Hmmm….can I pick two? Either somewhere along our beautiful west coast here in Canada or one of the least ‘fiddled with’ Hawaiian islands. But, if I had to, that’s hard. I think our West Coast. (Or Hawaii :) Hee hee. I would hope to avoid somewhere too hot and dry, like the Sahara dessert or actually, cold would really suck, too, like Antartica. Uh oh..that’s two again. Sorry :)

What was the biggest surprise you faced in the process of writing a book? Was there anything you thought would be easy that turned out to be challenging… or vice versa?
Actually, once I got into a daily routine I was really surprised at how much you can get done in a couple hours. It’s amazing how an entire book can be created in the wee small hours of the morning. What has turned out to be challenging has been reclaiming those wee small hours for the second book, especially when the first book still needs attention.

What about your characters? Did any of them surprise you, or turn out wildly different than you’d originally intended?
Yeah, some of the minor characters like the Sea Wraith. When Matthew Brett and I were working on the illustrations, sometimes I’d give him the evil eye and say “You didn’t read that part, did you?” because it was so different from the description I’d given. But other times it worked to my advantage. My initial description of the Sea Wraith had a long, metallic type of mandible coming out from the hood. But Matthew drew something that looked like it actually inhabited the sea and I loved it so much better.

In your book, “personal magic” can come in a variety of forms – Molding, Natruids, Quatra, etc. Which of these (or something else!) would you want your own personal magic to be?
I think it would be really cool to be a Natruid. I love the idea of working with nature and using its natural powers and properties to create something new. I’ve always loved the image of mixing herbs and strange plants for medicine’s and potions and this just kind of takes it a step further.

If you were limited to eating food from one particular type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
I think I could happily live off a Mediteranean diet…sans the olives! I can’t do olives….olive oil? Yes! Olives? Nuh uh!

What’s the number one thing you hope that readers take away from reading your book?
I hope readers enjoy Root’s journey because as the series continues it’s so much more than a magical scavenger hunt. These items have a mysterious history behind them and to Root’s horror, she realizes she is not a player in an innocent kids race but a pawn in a vicious adult game.

Finally, who do you think would win in a fight, pirates or ninjas?
I would hope pirates because they’re so much cooler! Like Jack Sparrow!

Finally, Kamilla has also graciously provided a bonus signed copy of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus plus a few fun surprises for one of my readers! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post! Link to this contest on your blog (comment with a link to your post) and your entry will count double! I’ll draw the winner the first week of August.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. karbunkulus permalink
    July 21, 2008 10:05 am

    Thanks so much, Nicki! I’m so excited to finish book 2 where Root begins to unravel some of the very questions you have asked! Like the mystery behind the items and the race itself and the juicy unfoldings of Kakos. It’s gettin’ ugly…but in a good way!

    Anyway, I’ll be popping in all day today if anyone has any questions or would just like to say ‘hi’.



  2. July 21, 2008 9:39 pm

    I entered The Friendly Book Nook’s contest and your review has me crossing my fingers even tighter. This sounds really fun.

  3. bunnyb permalink
    July 21, 2008 10:11 pm

    This book sounds really fun!! I’d love to read it! Great website, Kamilla :)

  4. bunnyb permalink
    July 21, 2008 10:23 pm

    I’ve also blogged here for another entry!
    Thank you :)

  5. Rebecca permalink
    July 22, 2008 1:01 am

    This book sounds really fun! I’d love to win a copy of it. :)

  6. July 22, 2008 8:40 am

    Free books! I like the sound of that. And it sounds like it will be fun!

  7. Becca permalink
    July 22, 2008 8:42 am

    Check out the link at

  8. July 22, 2008 12:27 pm

    No need to enter me in any giveaways. I participated in both Reid and Savage’s book tours too! I found your blog through koolaidmom’s award to you. I’ll be stopping by to check in often!

  9. July 23, 2008 7:38 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway. I’ve been wanting to read this book w/ my daughter. I blogged about it here:

  10. July 31, 2008 9:44 am

    I found your site originally through the Far World blog tour, and really enjoy it. I love your header!

    I would love a chance to win this book. Thanks for hosting the give away!

  11. Gwendolyn permalink
    August 4, 2008 4:10 pm

    Oh, thanks for the chance. This is a genre I am just getting into, so it’s a great lead to a good read even if I don’t win!

  12. August 6, 2008 6:34 pm

    Sounds a fun book! hopefully might get the chance to win a copy too! :D


  1. The Questory of Root Karbunkulus Giveaway WINNER! « Fyrefly’s Book Blog

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