Author: Erica Sandbothe
As many of you readers know we here at Book in the Bag do get requests from authors to read and review their books. If you are familiar with how we operate we do not promise to give good reviews only honest ones, thus I will dictate that I have received nothing more than a few e-mails and a copy of her first book Codecrafter from Erica.
To start off, the book is about a young girl named Tagglinde (Tagg for short) who is going to a school to learn how to be a sorceress. He spell work however is not your typical mystical fare but rather based in code and programming. She receives a magical stick that has a memory drive that she has to remember to defrag and her spells have to be written in proper code for them to come out and be usable. If you are familiar with any sort of coding you can see a lot of the connections between what she does in the book to actual coding, if not in a lot of ways everything is still very odd and mystical. I am not overly familiar with coding but I do know enough to be familiar with what was being talked about on some levels (most of what I have done has been BBC coding and very basic code to set up a web page back in the day).
Still, if you know about coding or you don’t the story is still and enjoyable read and is very well fitted for middle grade ages as Erica claims the book to be. The story was interesting and I wasn’t sitting there wondering when will this book end or regretting to volunteer to read the book. I only have one major complaint about the book which sometimes can be a good complaint and that is that the book wasn’t long enough. There were times where I would have loved a bit more pacing and a deeper exploration of certain things but all the same I enjoyed the read.
Aside from the book being a quick read of only 135 pages (perfect for the age range she is aiming for), my only remaining recommendation for future copies of the book if possible is to have a map or two in the front of the book showing the lands of the world of Codecrafter and maybe even a map of the school grounds where the gardens and school building are in Tilde. Of course, these things aren’t necessary but I know I probably would have flipped to the map if there was one at some point just to get a feel for where Tagg was when she was traveling about.
Overall, the book was a good read and not only that it taught some great mathematical concepts as well because computer science is related to that ever dreaded subject for many- math. Odds and probability are something that tends to go over people’s heads. I had fun with it, because I’m your all around geek not only enjoying a good read but also loving a good mathematical problem as well. There was actually a point where I stopped reading the book to figure out the answer to the question before I read the answer (please note I was just waking up from sleep at that point).
In the end I would give this book a 4 page rating saying that it is a good read and age appropriate for middle grades. I know I’m looking forward to the next book in the series which I’m told Erica is currently working on! Additionally I am looking forward to the growth and expansion of her website to include the yet to come teaching materials because I can see the educational value of the book as well having formally been in the field of education myself!