Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Journey Across the Hidden Islands

25488323Durst, Sarah Beth. Journey Across the Hidden Islands
April 4th 2017 by Clarion
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Ji-Lin is training with her winged lion Alejan to become the protector of her sister and heir to the throne, Seika. When she successfully completes her training, she is allowed to go home for her birthday. Upon arrival, she is thrust immediately into a large celebration ritual, and she finds out that she and her sister are to be sent on the Emperor's Journey to talk to the dragon that is keeping a boundary up that makes the Hidden Islands safe from fierce monsters called koji. Along with Alejan, the sisters start on their four day journey. They run into problems along the way-- at one stop, the town has been invaded by a giant serpent koji who is making a next in the town, there are frequent earthquakes, and the come across a pirate ship claiming to be from Zemyla, where the founder of Himitsu was born. The pirates are really explorers, but Kirro, the son of the captain, has been bitten by a beetle and might die. The Zemylans don't believe the princesses that the spit from a waterhorse will heal Kirro, because in their world, waterhorses have been hunted to extinction. The princesses no they need to hurry to the dragon, but they offer to take Kirro with them to be healed. They manage to do this, and make it to the dragon in time, but are unable to contact the dragon. The princesses' Uncle and the people in the village nearby don't seem overly worried, but the girls are not ready to give up and manage to find the dragon and uncover a plot. Will they be able to save their kingdom?
Strengths: This is a very descriptive novel with a very rich fantasy world. It reminds me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It's quasi-Japanese, which is a change from quasi-Celtic, and who doesn't want to fly around on a lion and save the world from evil monsters. There is enough princessy detail to keep younger readers happy, and enough action/adventure and girl power to delight older readers. I found myself liking this one more than I thought I would. A great choice for readers who liked Hale's Princess Academy or Levine's The Two Princesses of Bamarre.
Weaknesses: Both girls seemed SUPER unprepared for their journey, but I guess their father had their reasons for sending them. It also seemed a little odd that the towns they visited were under such duress but were willing to send the girls on to talk to the dragon, especially given how unprepared the girls were.
What I really think: Will definitely purchase. Kind of hope it's a stand alone, though. I like to be able to imagine a second book rather than have yet another fantasy series!

30653810Hughes, Devon. Escape from Lion's Head (Unnaturals #2)
April 4th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Mutant talking animals in SPAAACE! Foxes are canines.

Good book. Bad fantasy amnesia! This is an essential purchase for libraries where the Warriors books are popular, but it's just not my cup of tea.

From Goodreads:
"K-07M0 has never had a name. As a fox-bat, she has lived her entire life silently hiding from the other hybrids and the scientists who created her…until the day a new animal gives her the name Kozmo and they help each other escape the underground lab.

In the outside world, Kozmo meets a pack of hybrids just like her, led by a feisty eagle-dog named Castor. But Castor and his pack are being viciously pursued, and Kozmo is forced to do something she’s never done before: trust others to survive. Kozmo will discover that Castor and his friends have unexpected human allies, but can they uncover the truth about why the Unnaturals were created together?"

Ms. Yingling

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