The Gaia Wars by Kenneth G. Bennett
Published: August 2011
Deadly secrets have been buried in the Cascade mountain wilderness for centuries. Hidden. Out of sight and out of mind.
Warren Wilkes, age 13, doesn't like what a greedy housing developer has done to his peaceful mountain community, so he vandalizes the developer's property, flees into the wild, and stumbles upon an ancient human skeleton revealed by torrential rain. More than old bones have been exposed, however, and the curious artifact Warren finds makes him question his own identity, and his connection to an ancient terror. A terror destined to rise again and annihilate all that Warren loves. He must fight or see his whole world destroyed.
Battle for Cascadia, (Book 2 of The Gaia Wars)
Published: November 2011
When Warren Wilkes, age 13, stumbles upon a mysterious relic deep in the Cascade Mountains (The Gaia Wars) wonder reigns. Brimming with secrets and sentient energy, the relic leads Warren to a fantastic chamber, and to shocking revelations about his identity.
Now wonder has turned to dread.
A forgotten terror-- a demon that knows Warren better than he knows himself-- has risen again and is gathering power with a singularly evil goal in mind: to capture and enslave the wild spirit of the Earth itself.
Warren must fight or see all that he cherishes destroyed.
I decided to review both books together because they really should be read together, in my opinion. The Gaia Wars ends in such a cliffhanger that, if you don't already, you will wish you had Battle for Cascadia so that you can continue the story.
In The Gaia Wars, Warren, an orphan who lives with his uncle, plays a prank on a neighbor who is destroying the land, that Warren loves, for housing developments. When running to avoid being caught by them, Warren finds a medallion. Through this medallion, he learns about the Denelai people, an ancient culture which lived in the area hundreds of years ago. The Denelai people believed there was a goddess of the Earth who could take a human form and live among them. Something horrible happened during one of these visits, and the goddess was trapped in human form. When Warren finds the medallion, he begins to uncover secrets that have been buried for hundreds of years, and he becomes involved in the battle to save the goddess. There is an evil power that has creatures made specifically to capture the Earth Goddess, and if he succeeds, the Earth will be destroyed as well.
The battle to save the Earth and the Earth Goddess continues in Battle for Cascadia. It is hard to say much more about what happens in Battle for Cascadia because it will give spoilers for the first one. This one has more of a traditional ending than The Gaia Wars, but something happens at the very end to open up a new path for another book in the series. I personally cannot wait for another one. If Ken is not planning another book in this series, he should.
To be honest, I am not sure if these are books that I would have chosen to read on my own. However, I am very glad that I did read them because both of these books are some of the best I have read in a long time. I find it very interesting that Ken was inspired to write this story after reading an article written by a NASA scientist about The Gaia Hypothesis. (You can read more about that here.) I enjoy reading a lot of different books; however, it is very rare for me to finish a book and feel amazed by what I read. I recommend books that I think others would enjoy all the time. I would more than recommend The Gaia Wars. I would tell you that you have to read these books. Seriously, what are you waiting for?
Both books were provided by the author for review.
About the author:
Besides The Gaia Wars and Battle for Cascadia, Kenneth G. Bennett is also the author of the forthcoming Exodus 2018, a paranormal thriller set in the Puget Sound region of Washington State.
Ken attended Art Center College of Design and is an award-winning advertising copywriter. A wilderness enthusiast who loves backpacking, skiing and kayaking, Ken enjoys novels that explore the relationship between humans and the wild. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son.
You can find out more on Ken's site, Twitter, and on The Gaia Wars site.