ARC Review: Debunked (Terravenum Chronicles #1) by Dito Abbott

MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5

Format: Advanced Reader Copy


Sometimes adventure knocks. Other times, it kicks the door in.

“Dearest Alexandria and Ozymandias,
If you are reading this, I have perished. My demise likely involved some manner of spiked pit or curiously fanged beast, so it’s doubtful I suffered long. Do not try to find me-the path is too perilous, and I am lost to the mortal plane.”

When Alex and Ozzie read their grandfather’s latest “death” letter, they barely blink. Dying six times in two years has to be a record, even for an explorer as incompetent as Sir Quidby Forsythe III.
Faster than you can say “kidnapped by a giant, glowing lizard,” the Forsythe twins are dragged into a world of ancient prophecies, sarcastic swords of legend, mutant slime beasts, and a growing awareness their grandfather might be the greatest explorer in history.
With Skhaar the Annihilator hot on their trail, Ozzie and Alex must solve the mystery of Sir Quidby’s disappearance before they become the final victims of the Forsythe Curse.


I received an advanced reader copy, provided by the author for an honest review.
This did not impact my rating in any way.
Debunked is an entrant in the 2022, SPSFC-2, and won best cover. As I am not a judge, this is an independent review.

I wanted to read this the moment I saw the cover, it was just too cool and looked like it was going to be a lot of fun. I wasn’t disappointed, because it was indeed, a lot fun. It’s an action-packed, fast-paced story about the bond of family with magical weapons, monstrous creatures and a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor that kept me giggling throughout, with each of the characters. Ozzie is a bit reserved and awkward, while Alex is outgoing and adventurous, and the relationship between the two felt very natural. Pascal, a Dromedarian, which is a camel-like character that is a bumbling inventor, reminds me a bit of Data from The Goonies or Flint from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, his character provides a good bit of the humor. Finally there is Layla, the sauracian, lizard-like warrior that gives off a bit of Drax vibes from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Debunked is an urban, science-fiction, young adult read. Chaos ensues almost immediately and it’s just an epic adventure across worlds that just never relents. It takes inspiration from several great works from the past. For starters, the air ships and its crew, as well as the energy “magic” called Dynami, reminded me a bit of the lightning pirate ships from Stardust. I also got a little bit of a Treasure Planet type of feel as well as a few other adventure classics such as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“There is no accident. You are destined for glorious victory or the eternal shame of excruciating defeat. Given your skills, I’m leaning toward the latter.”

The World-building plays a big part early on and I thought Dito did a great job of that as it not only describes their home in the real world, but also the in-world of Terravenum. I’m not certain if this is accurate, but it seems as if Dito used Terra and venum as a portmanteau to create the name of the in-world. Partly due to it being a terrarium like world and because it is a place that has been “corrupted” by the maelstrom.

I loved the footnotes that Dito left, but after about the half-way point, I stopped clicking on them to see what they were. I think they would’ve been better if it was worked into the story instead of being clickable footnotes. The character progression of Ozzie felt a little rushed, when we meet him he’s awkward and quiet but rather quickly becomes a bit outgoing and a risk-taker. I would’ve liked to see that part of him slowly build throughout the book. On the flip side, Alex never really had any progression as a character, she was the same throughout. This however didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this story. Dito did a fantastic job and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for mentioning the foot notes. I am not a fan of them in ebooks as clicking them takes me 100% out of the flow of reading the story. It’s why I ended up reading Discworld in paper.


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