Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Loved (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Know what's the sign of a good book? When one is written for "Age Level: 8-12, Grade Level: 3-7" and it's still completely enjoyable to an adult reader. More than enjoyable, I loved this book.
Set on some fantasy world (or future Earth), Dangers (monsters) have taken over. Almost all people (humans, elves, dwarves) have been killed by the Dangers, just a few cities are left, protected by walls, men, and magic.
This book takes place in one of those cities. All kids must join a guild, though they don't have choice in which one they end up in. Sometimes it's a profession that runs in the family, sometimes a guild will recruit people with a talent in that area, and some guilds are catch-alls to take the rest.
POV in the book switches back and forth between two main characters. Brock, a boy from a Merchant family, thus destined for the Merchant's guild, and Zed, a half-elf boy who hopes to be able to use magic and thus join the Mages Guild. Both boys, along with a couple other children, end up in the Adventurers Guild instead. Adventurers are the only people who ever leave the city and go outside to fight Dangers.
There was so much I loved about this book. The biggest thing was how completely unpredictable it was! I kept saying things like "Oh a mean kid, I bet he's going to join the guild and learn the True Value of Friendship and become one of the kids' inner circle" because that's what happens in so many other books, but this book did none of that! Every time I guessed something, I was wrong. Good work, authors!
The only downside of this book is that it's the only one out thus far. While the book is a self-contained story, the last few pages opened up the world for the next book, and I wish I had it NOW NOW NOW.