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Josh Anvil and the Cypress Door

Josh Anvil Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Bruce E. Arrington
Series: Josh Anvil, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 28 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What would you do with limitless powers? Fourteen-year-old Josh Anvil has severe dyslexia, and his dad's recent injury from a terrible arson fire threatens his family's livelihood. But when Josh makes a fateful canoe trip in the family swamp, his life changes forever. After a mysterious event, he discovers his ability to create living things, from dragons to floating islands. And he can heal the sick. But with arson fires erupting all over Baton Rouge and a mysterious threat targeting his life, Josh must find the connection. And he can't learn this from high school. Weaved in YA fantasy with elements of action and comedy, Josh Anvil and the Cypress Door captures the trials of a high school freshman with powerful abilities at his command.

©2016 Bruce E Arrington (P)2016 Pipe Dream Books

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Fun and imaginative but a little too long.

Josh Anvil and the Cypress Door is a fun and imaginative story that ultimately overstays its welcome with too much stuff.

While you won't find a single bad idea in here --flying dragons, magic healing powers, floating islands, sentient roller coasters, and more-- it feels like 10 pounds of plot in a 5-pound bag.

The biggest issue I had with Cypress Door, though (aside from the lack of a real antagonist or even a climax), is that it gives so many of these aforementioned great ideas top billing. The exception is the beautifully muted subplot about dyslexia that showed really impressive restraint from the author. It's skillfully weaved into the story and drives a lot of the main character's actions.

In a series of chapter-length episodes, the titular Josh Anvil (plus a small cast of supporting characters) discover and enjoy the benefits of Josh's powers. The origins of these newfound powers are left mysterious until nearly the very end of the book, and I gotta say, I found their long-awaited reveal to be somewhat anticlimactic, vague, and... convenient.

Still, it's the journey that matters, not the destination, and there's a ton of journeying in Cypress Door. Adult readers might find their suspension of disbelief tested by the some of the bizarre decisions made by the grown-ups, but their sometimes illogical choices move the story along and younger readers will likely enjoy it.

This audio book was narrated by the author. While you won't find any bells and/or whistles in the production, the recording quality was stellar. His tone is pleasant, his pace and character voices are consistent, and I didn't notice any background noise in the recording. He does make several mistakes and several times got halfway through a sentence before pausing and starting over, but these little goofs only added to the charm of the production. My only real gripe was that his pace was slooooooooooooooooow (the audio book is over 16 hours long!) but I realized about halfway through that Audible allows you to speed up the playback. 1.5x speed seemed perfect.