Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This fantasy written by Adam Blade is the sixth in the " Beast Quest" series and is published by Scholastic Inc.

Epos the Winged Flame is written for kids ages 8 to 10. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Tom and his friend Elenna are on their way to free Epos, one of the legendary beasts that guards the kingdom of Avantia. The evil wizard Malvel has enslaved Epos, and this beast must do what Malvel wants. The children have gained confidence during their quests, having already freed five of the beasts that protect their kingdom. Epos, a bird made of fire, has been stirring up the volcano near the village of Stonewin. If the volcano erupts, it could also destroy Avantia's capital and the castle of King Hugo.

Following the magic map given to Tom by Aduro, the kingdom's good wizard, the children draw closer to Epos' lair. But they must take cover under Tom's magical shield when the volcano begins to erupt. The ground shakes. Ash, rocks and smoke threaten to harm the children and their animal friends, Storm, Tom's horse, and Silver, Elenna's tame wolf. Fortunately, the eruption stops before anyone is hurt. Tom and Elenna follow some men to Stonewin to see if the village survived the eruption.

A flow of lava threatens to destroy the houses on the edge of town. Tom uses his shield to help the men dig a trench and divert the lava. A young boy flees from the forest having encountered Epos in the nearby caves. Tom questions the boy about what he's seen and then notices the piece of armor he wears. The boy found it in the caves. Tom recognizes it from its seal as the work of his Uncle Henry, a blacksmith. The armor is also inscribed with the letters T, A, L and A. Tom believes it might have belonged to his father, Taladon, who left on a quest when Tom was a baby, never to return.

Afraid that the next eruption will destroy their town, the villagers agree to follow Tom and his magic map through the caves to the royal city. But Epos blocks the path with boulders. Fortunately, soldiers from the capital dig the trapped people out. One soldier tells Tom that he looks like a young knight named Taladon he knew many years ago. Tom is encouraged to continue his quest, knowing his father was a noble knight.

Elenna and Tom return to the village through the caves. In the caves, Tom finds more of his father's armor. After putting it on, they try to find a way up the volcano, but a sea of lava surrounds it. Tom uses his magic shield as a boat and paddles across the boiling liquid while Elenna uses her arrows to distract Epos and keep him from attacking Tom.

Tom reaches the top of the volcano but not before Epos steals his magic shield. Tom won't give up the fight, even after Malvel appears and tells him it is useless. Before vanishing, the evil wizard baits the boy by telling him that Taladon aided him in his plan to enchant the beasts and ruin the kingdom.

Tom remains determined to finish his quest. He leaps for the chain that binds Epos to Malvel's curse but is unable to cut it. Instead, he loses his sword. The fiery bird attacks again; this time Tom grabs hold of her leg. She carries him over the mouth of the volcano, but Tom lets go before she can smash him against the rocks.

Tom notices cracks in the top of the volcano and hopes that if he can pull enough rocks down to start an avalanche, it could plug up the volcano and save the kingdom. Malvel reappears to watch Epos defeat Tom. The bird lunges and grabs Tom by the chest. As Malvel gloats that Tom is as weak as Taladon, the boy cries out that he still believes in his father. He also finds strength by believing in the righteousness of his quest and in his friends. This inner strength is enough for Tom to crush the enchanted chain with his fist.

Once free of Malvel's curse, Epos grabs the wizard in her claws but he soon disappears into the air. Epos returns to help Tom plug the volcano and save Avantia. She causes the top of the volcano to collapse, but gets trapped inside. Tom fears that she's been destroyed but, because she is a phoenix, she is able to reemerge from the flames. Before flying away she returns Tom's shield and sword to him.

Aduro transports the boy to King Hugo's throne room where he is welcomed as a hero. As a reward, Tom requests information about his father. Taladon had once battled Epos and lost. He made it his mission to learn all he could about the legendary beasts of Avantia. When nightmares began to plague him about terrible things happening to the kingdom, Taladon and Tom's mother agreed he should go on a quest to find out more about the beasts so the kingdom would be protected in the future. Malvel stole Taladon's information and used it to enslave the beasts. Tom's father traveled far away to continue to gain knowledge. No one knows where he lives now. Tom is proud to know he has followed in his father's noble footsteps and believes that he will one day meet him.

Aduro brings Elenna, Storm and Silver into the throne room. A great feast is planned in their honor. Tom wonders if they've seen the last of Malvel. Aduro warns that Malvel is a great sorcerer and may yet cause trouble for Avantia. Tom vows to be ready to fight the evil wizard again if he ever returns.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Six magical beasts guard Avantia until Malvel's black magic enslaves them. Once Tom breaks the enchanted chains that bind them, they return to doing what is good for others and protecting Avantia. Aduro uses his powers to help the kingdom. Aduro explains that Tom was able to break Epos' chain because of the faith he had in himself, his father and his friends. Malvel's evil magic was destroyed by Tom's goodness and loyalty.

Authority Roles

Raymond, one of the village leaders, shows concern for the children but does not question them about their quest or why they are travelling alone. Aduro, who initially sent Tom on his quest, appears at the end of the battle to congratulate Tom and take him to King Hugo.


Tom and Elenna are often in dangerous situations, such as a volcano erupting and a phoenix attacking them. The writing is suspenseful but not overly graphic in detail.



Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics :

Why did the people build their village so close to the volcano?
* Would you want to live that close to a volcano? Explain.

Tom is always glad when someone says he looks like his father.
* Which of our qualities [those of your parents] would you like to have as you grow up?

How does Malvel try to discourage Tom from completing his quest?
* How have others tried to discourage you from doing something?
* Did they succeed?
* If not, how were you able to overcome your doubts?

How did Tom's friends help him succeed?
* Could he have succeeded alone? Explain.
* How have your friends helped you succeed in an area

Why was this situation made better because of others being involved?

Additional Comments/Notes

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 10




Adam Blade






Record Label



Scholastic Inc.


On Video

Year Published




We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!