This is a middle-grade-aged book, which I was thoroughly excited to dive into and gain a sense of childhood reimbursement. Luckily, this book accomplished just that.
Ivan is a ten-year-old going through a difficult time, parent divorce. No child should have to go through that experience, or the externalities it brings along with it. But Ivan handles it quite well. He is very intelligent for a child, with many thoughts and conversations aligned with the sophistication of a high school student. From the initial introduction, it is obvious that this character has a wild imagination and collected thoughts packed tightly in his youthful mind.
With the divorce of his parents, Ivan makes a move with his mother to Santiago, where he will live with this grandfather, or Serapio as the man prefers to be entitled to. Serapio is a great character. He brings joy into a lot of the book, which I find fascinating since he is the elderly character and in most novels, their roles involve sophistication and high levels of maturity. This story implements the cool grandpa, however, who pops up through a window to present himself to his grandson. Read this book to behold these amazing characters. The development is outstanding.
Going back to Ivan and his character development, I appreciate how the author unfolds this child as a sophisticated personality but levels it down by having him ask curious questions that a normal child would such as meanings of words and about his surroundings.
The structure of the book is well-put. Since this is a middle-grade story, the short chapters are necessary to keep a kid intact with the story and have a continuous interest. The short chapters may help to bring a sense of accomplishment to someone as they finish one with ease. These short chapters also help to divide the story into clear scenes for a young reader to thoroughly understand what is going on.
The Warrior of the Night stories within ‘Ivan’s Tests’ are the key aspects that build Ivan and his grandfather’s band. These comic books spark interest in Ivan and help him make friends and form connections with his family members. While his mother and father are skeptical about what they consider folklore stories, Ivan’s imagination only keeps growing. I will not give any details to the Warrior of the Night, for this is a non-spoiler review, but the story within the book’s story is definitely fascinating. While it draws in Ivan to want to read more of the comic books, it lures in me as a reader as well which helps me connect to Ivan.
Overall, the intertwining of Ivan, the Warrior of the Night, and the boy’s quest to become a hero develops the theme. As the title refers to ‘Ivan’s Tests’, read this book to find out just what those consist of that the ten-year-old boy goes through. The theme that I produced from this clever plot is that heroes do not always wear capes, and anyone can uphold the title if deemed worthy.
I definitely recommend this book to not only middle-grade-aged kids, but anyone in the mood to escape to a fun and adventurous book that is so easy to read.