Book Review: James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain | Blushing Geek

Book Review: James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain | Blushing Geek

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain
Series: James Clyde, #1
February 1, 2012 by Matador
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
240 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Free from the author
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Find on Goodreads
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Alongside his friends Ben and Mary Forester, James Clyde must protect a powerful diamond from falling into the wrong hands. A strange and sinister man dressed in black is also pursuing the diamond and will stop at nothing to obtain it. James and his friends set off on a perilous journey to return the diamond to its rightful place. But they are being hunted every step of the way by the relentless man in black and his blood-thirsty army. Outnumbered, James finds he must use the power of the diamond to escape their clutches – or become another victim of their murderous quest. So begins a journey that will transport them to an alternative world where they must confront the mysterious man in black for a final, winner-takes-all battle…


Once in a while, I do enjoy indulging in good middle grade fantasy books. So when I was offered by the good author, Colm McElwain with his first book, James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra, I was curious. So I’ve read the sypnosis, watch its book trailer and read the reviews, then I’ve decided that I want to read it.

James Clyde and the diamonds of Orchestra started with a very intriguing sypnosis talking about this guy Marcus being pursued by some unknown assailants. The mention of a place called Darken, the killing of the King and finding the legendary diamonds intensified my interest. On the next page, we then introduced to the 11-year old protagonist, James Clyde, who recently came to live with a vague haughty woman named Anne Brown who also adopted the siblings, Ben (who is just a year younger than him) and Mary (8 years old).

The introduction of James Clyde wasn’t really that pleasant since he was being pursued by the mall security guards for shoplifting. In the struggle to get away from the guards, he unintentionally ventured into a psychic who warns him of grave dangers. Her prophecy then started when James, together with Ben and Mary, got to spend the 2 weeks Christmas vacation off from school to his grandfather Wimore’s place.

This book was actually divided into two parts. The first one was the introduction of James Clyde, and his connection to the beautiful world of Orchestra, which they thought at first was just a mere fairytale. The second was more about what happened to him and his friends at Orchestra and what dangers they met. This story was then ended with an epilogue way back to Earth which highlights their dear friend, Simon Rainbow, who after finding out the death of Jamesโ€™ grandfather and their disappearance decided to investigate the event by himself. The last page of this book ended with Simon finding the treasure chest making us excited to know what will happen next.

McElwain lists C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling among his influencers and it’s easy to spot the influence in this book. I love the trio and I love how they complimented each other, they somewhat reminds me of Harry, Ron and Hermione. The antagonist, Queen Abigail on the other hand reminds me of Narnia’s white witch.

Orchestra by the way is divided into two kingdoms: Zara and Darken. By the name itself, it’s obvious which is the bad one eh? After the death of the King 11 years ago, Darken is now ruled by the evil Queen Abigail who intends to rule both the kingdom after she obtains the Orchestra’s fabled diamonds.

I love that even if this book’s target readers were pre-teens, it contains enough adventure and thrill to intrigue grown-up readers. I also love that it was so fast paced. It’s just a short read but you wouldn’t notice that since there’s a lot of things happening in this book. This book was also narrated by multiple characters, but most of the time it’s from James. 

My amazement with this story continues to grow as I read every chapter of this book. It’s just appalling how the author created a different word (and take note, an equally beautiful one) out of the two most successful series of all time.

Overall, James Clyde and the diamonds of Orchestra is a remarkable story about the adventure of 3 young kids into a different world, where they thought was just a product of imagination until they find themselves inside it. Definitely a must-read for all ages.

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  • Sophia Rose June 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I haven’t read a good Middle Grade fantasy adventure in a while. I do like the sound of this one and love both the series he was influenced by. Sounds like the main character had some growing to do if he started out as a shoplifter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Great review, Vanessa!

    • Vanessa June 19, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      I’m pretty sure you will like this one Sophia Rose. In all fairness to James though is that he did shoplift for his brother and sister ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Karen June 19, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Sounds like a fun book to recommend to my niece and nephew.

    For What It’s Worth

    • Vanessa June 19, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Absolutely a perfect one Karen ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mary Kirkland June 20, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Sounds like you really enjoyed this one! Thanks for sharing.

    • Vanessa June 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks Mary ๐Ÿ™‚

  • kimbacaffeinate June 20, 2017 at 1:30 am

    This sounds good Vanessa and perfect for reading aloud as a family.

    • Vanessa June 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      It’s absolutely a great choice Kim ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carole's Random Life June 20, 2017 at 10:54 am

    I don’t read a lot of middle grade books but I do pick them up every once in a while. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    • Vanessa June 20, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks Carole ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heidi June 21, 2017 at 4:42 am

    I am picking up more and more MG because my kids are that age now. I will have to add this to their list as it sounds very appealing.

    • Vanessa June 21, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Ohhh, this one’s definitely perfect for your kids Heidi. I’m pretty sure they will love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • [email protected] addicted 2 reading June 21, 2017 at 11:48 am

    It has been awhile since I read a middle grade book.It sounds like a great story. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing.

    • Vanessa June 21, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Aww, I sure did Nadene. Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Melliane June 21, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    from time to time it is nice to have a middle grade story like that!

    • Vanessa June 21, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Yeah, you’re absolutely right Melliane ๐Ÿ™‚


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