Annison's Risk

by Paul McCusker
Series: Passages #3
152 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Nienna

Entertaining, allegorical book with a little nongraphic violence.


Maddy is playing hide and seek with a friend and has crawled under the porch when she hears strange noises. Upon venturing out, Maddy finds herself in another world which is in the middle of a "celebration" for the Palatian king who had just conquered Marus. Upon seeing this conquering king's intended future bride, a Marutian, Maddy knows she must help the queen in whatever way she can. This thrusts her into a web of intrigue and danger as she is forced to choose whether to follow the "Unseen One" and face death, or join with the king against the followers of the "Old Faith."


Very good. The wrong is clearly shown as such and the believers refuse to do anything sinful even to save their lives.

Spiritual Content

Annison and other followers of the Old Faith believe in the Unseen One, who is God.


Maddy is threatened several times, though never harmed. Many people are beaten and tortured, though this is not described very much. Some people die from starvation and "interrogation" which takes place behind the scenes. A character builds gallows on which he intends to hang hundreds of people, including a main character. It is stated that a man is executed by hanging.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The king drinks wine and at one point Maddy is sure he is half-drunk. Poison is used.

Sexual Content

There are frequent mentions that Annison is beautiful, and one man states that fact when saying he'd like her for a wife.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

A few exclamations such as "blast" are used.


Annison's Risk could almost fit under the category of a "supposal", the word coined by C.S. Lewis when discussing his Chronicles of Narnia. It is the story of Queen Esther only set in a different world and seen through the eyes of a young girl from our world. McCusker has made this other world very real and I loved some of the points he made through Maddy's naivety. Any girl who dreams of entering a fairy tale or wants to read the story of Esther in a new way will love this book.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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