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Reviews of The Obsidian Quest

Finalist in the Dream Realm Awards

Read the first chapter of
The Obsidian Quest,
Book 1 of Quest for Earthlight

Read the first chapter of
Lord of Obsidian,
Book 2 of Quest for Earthlight

Read the first chapter of
The Third Age of Obsidian,
Book 3 of Quest for Earthlight


From Cindy Penn
Senior Editor,
Amazon top 50 reviewer
eBook Specialist, Midwest Book Reviews

Very highly recommended

Just before his thirteenth birthday, Peter FitzArthur visits his aunt and uncle in New Zealand while his stepfather is away on business. His Uncle Paul Merrilyn to all appearances seems quite ordinary as does his dog Dreyfus. But the adventure Peter will embark upon will prove just how extraordinary they all are.

As Peter explores the land surrounding his aunt and uncle’s home, he discovers a path leading through the bush. A man captures Peter, taking him to a cave to examine him to see if he’s the “One everyone's waiting for.” He escapes, but doesn’t tell what happened until later when Dreyfus fights Cerberus, the three-headed dog of legend. With Dreyfus badly injured, Peter goes for help. When he tries to take his uncle to the site where the dogs fought, they run into a stone wall instead.

Soon Peter and his Uncle, the reincarnation of Merlin the Magician, set off on a quest to gather the Chosen and to remake the Obsidian Orb. Surviving kidnapping, accidents and attack, Peter will confront the worst of evil and the best of magic in a journey through the Alps, through jungles and magical space and time.

The first book of a series, OBSIDIAN QUEST is a terrific beginning to what promises to be a fabulous trilogy. OBSIDIAN QUEST captures the spirit of the Arthurian/Merlin legends with pizzazz, creating a world of magic and legend that will both delight and entertain young readers. A fast moving plot, ingenious characterizations, and a battle between good and evil will hold readers enthralled. Indeed, while OBSIDIAN QUEST is specifically aimed at a young adult audience, all lovers of fantasy will find it equally gratifying. Very highly recommended.

The following was written for Scribes World, where you can read many more reviews. Reviewer Patricia White gave it four and a half stars out of five. I would like to point out that Peter didn’t have to come to New Zealand to stay with his aunt. He merely travelled from Wellington (the capital city of New Zealand) up to Auckland. And I’m surprised that a child of today hasn’t learned about the differences between the two hemipsheres, how it’s night in one while it’s day in the other, and it’s Winter in one, but Summer in the other. We took these things for granted when we were kids and certainly weren’t fazed by people travelling south to the sun when we would travel north. Anyway, to get back to Patricia’s review:

Peter FitzArthur goes to visit his dead mother’s sister in New Zealand shortly before his thirteenth birthday and discovers his uncle is not exactly what he appears to be, which is just very ordinary. Very ordinary can disguise some extraordinary facts—such as historical legends are born again and again, evil continues as does good, and magic is very real—and quests to save the world are still in the offing but it takes a brave boy to shoulder the burden of greatness.

Beyond doubt, Ms. Barker pens a fine, exciting tale. Grounded in the Merlin/Arthur myths but adding new layers, new twists, and a new take on the once and future king concept. The tale is plot driven, the characters are well realized, and the setting is firmly in place—and it is with the setting that I have my only quibble. I had my grandson, an avid Harry Potter fan who is almost eleven, read the beginning of THE OBSIDIAN QUEST and he was instantly sidetracked by the fact that it was set very near Christmas and it was summer. We spent some time talking about the seasonal differences in the two hemispheres—which took him completely out of the book. It was a great learning experience for him—one that carried over into learning more about the differences in metric measurements (used in the book) and what he uses in everyday life. It came down to this: I loved the book far more than my grandson did, but by reading it together we had a great afternoon and had some incredible interaction. I would highly recommend this book to older readers, King Arthur and/or fantasy fans, and grandmothers would enjoy a journey of discovery with their grandchildren.

© Patricia White

The following review was done by Rita Hestand, who gives The Obsidian Quest a 5-star rating:

While staying with an Aunt and Uncle, Peter, a thirteen year old, discovers more than his share of adventure and mayhem. Almost from the moment he arrives, he is cast into another world where wizards, ghosts and demons prey upon the Chosen few.

Thrown into a world where good and evil clash and only one is the victor, Peter is amazed to find his own Uncle in the role of Merlin, and his dog Dreyfus is his protector. To war against Cerberus, the dog that guards the gates of hell, and Sujad. He is called from the present by Nostradamus, and Merlin as the Chosen One of the Earthlight.

The quest for the Obsidian Orb hurls Peter and many others into a world where he can not only see the dark side, but experience it first hand.

From falling into a cave, to visiting the actual Stonehenge, Peter is whisked through a dark future and past with his Uncle Paul, or is he Merlin. He is of the chosen and it will be his duty to fight the evil before it destroys earth.

Laraine Anne Barker brings us a tale that is loaded with one adventure after another, but what makes this story so different is how she has managed to personify good and evil and mirror image the likeness to Biblical comparison. From her Peter, John and James, to her Judas Iscariot. Such a deep meaning is embedded in this adventurous tale than one wonders if this is not the Revelation come alive.

At first glance this book seems to be merely another fantasy of adventure for a young teen on vacation. However, on closer examination we see far more in the telling than adventure. Ms Barker delves into the very soul of her hero and pits its purity against the evil one. One must admire her labor. Obsidian Quest is no ordinary mystery, or fantasy. It lodges within its pages a tale of revelation and jubilation. One must experience this book. I recommend it for not only YA but adults as well. It reaches above the ordinary mind.

©Rita Hestand
author of Pretend Mom and Nick’s Baby


Christine Spindler of E-Books for kids wrote:

The Obsidian Quest is set in New Zealand. Peter FitzArthur, a thirteen-year-old, kind-hearted boy, but also a bit of a loner, has to stay with his dead mother’s twin sister and her husband for a while, because his stepfather is overseas. Pete is impressed by Uncle Paul, whom he meets for the first time. Even Dreyfus, Peter’s German shepherd, seems to feel Paul’s outwordly strength.

When scary, unexplainable incidents happen, Peter discovers that Uncle Paul is not just an ordinary man. As old myths come to life and good and evil powers collide, Pete is faced with a frightening responsibility: is he brave enough to save the world?

Laraine Anne Barker breathes new life into old legends. She sends her amiable central character, Peter, on a quest for the Obsidian Orb and fills every page with dangerous adventures and startling surprises. Her style is excellent, her characters bristle with life. What do you feel when you hear the names Arthur, Merlin and Nostradamus? Are you intrigued by the myths surrounding them? Then The Obsidian Quest is a must read for you. Like me, you’ll be eagerly waiting for the second book in this unique trilogy.

© Christine Spindler


Jennifer LB Leese, ASTORYWEAVER’S Book Reviews wrote:

Set in New Zealand, Peter is a kind-hearted thirteen year-old boy who lives with his aunt and uncle. Within no time, Peter finds more than his share of adventure. Wizards, ghosts, and demons explode with creativeness throughout this book. As in most fantasy stories, good and evil clashes together giving the author a wide-variety in which the story may lead. However, Ms. Barker’s tale is far from ordinary. As the chosen, Peter and his Uncle Paul fight to track down the Obsidian Orb before evil destroys earth.

Ms. Barker’s book THE OBSIDIAN QUEST is superbly written. It is told during the King Arthur era and it is an imaginary story with a few new turns. Each character is well defined; the dialogue flows well, and is written realistically.

The tale keeps you reading and the setting is placed during the perfect era for fantasy. As I feel it may be a little confusing for younger readers, I do believe, however, that older children, say thirteen and up will enjoy this book to its fullest.

THE OBSIDIAN QUEST is packed with adventure, danger, surprises, and remarkable characters. The research Ms. Barker must have endured when putting together this masterpiece must have been an adventure in itself, and I feel I must mention that this is only the first book in the Earthlight trilogy.

This reviewer thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I look forward to reading more books by Laraine Anne Barker.

Highly recommended.

© Jennifer LB Leese


From Lisa of Book Review Cafe

For those of you that enjoyed Harry Potter and his books, this first book in the trilogy, Quest for Earthlight, is very similiar.

Peter is a boy who went off to live with his aunt and uncle after his mother died. He and his dog Dreyfus, play in the woods in the back of the house and on the beach.

When they came back, there was a cave in the bushes. Dreyfus was attacked by a three-headed dog named Cerberus, and a very large man interrogated Peter, asking questions.

There are many friends and foes in The Obsidian Quest. Dragon, Merlin, the Reborn, and Sujad. He finds out who he can and can't trust.

Peter is on the adventure of his life. Will he be able to complete his mission?

For those that have read Harry Potter and his series, then you might like The Obsidian Quest.

Not unlike Harry Potter, Peter also had to go live with his uncle and aunt because his mother died. (They just aren't so mean) He is turning thirteen soon, and these magical creatures think that Peter is the one! He has to carry out the mission to see if he has what it takes.

I’m not sure about the comparison to Harry Potter. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was either still being written when I finished this trilogy (started in 1987 and completed at the end of 1992) or was just starting its rounds of the publishers.


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