Tag Archives: myth

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, paperback novel, 228 pages, published by Chicken House in 2016.

The coastal town where Isabella lives is governed ruthlessly by a man that arrived from over the seas several decades earlier. He has banned travel away from the island, as well as through the forest to the interior of the island. Isabella longs to explore and map her island as her father had previously mapped foreign lands as a cartographer. When her best friend goes missing, presumed to have passed into the unknown territories beyond the forest, Isabella might just get her wish.

This was an easy and quick read with adventure, monsters, myths and a harsh dictator looking out only for himself. It didn’t take me long to get into the story, and I was intrigued by what or who could be beyond the town. It took longer to build up the characters and setting than I expected before getting to the adventuring, but I enjoyed getting to know everyone. The adventure was great, with conflict and action at a reasonable pace. I would have liked a little more explanation for why “The Banished” were banished in the first place, and how they had survived for so long. I also wondered how the Governor had come to be so powerful with such complete control over the town and its inhabitants. Still, the story was fun and entertaining.

Isabella was a plucky lead character; she was brave, determined and intelligent. I didn’t like Lupe nearly as much, but she did show moments of incredible courage under pressure. She was a good friend to Isabella, despite her usual self-involvement, and her relationship to the Governor. Pablo was rather surly, yet he had a soft spot for his old friend Isa, and was always looking out for her.

The pages of this novel were bordered with cartographical and nautical line drawings and symbols. It didn’t interfere with the text at all, though my eyes were often drawn to them as I read.

The Girl of Ink and Stars is suitable for upper primary and lower high school students.

 

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Escape From Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth

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Escape From Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth, e-book, 178 pages, published by Curiosity Quills Press in 2014.

After her parents are killed in the terror attacks of 9/11, Honoria moves to the rural town, Arnn, with her brother, aunt and uncle. The town is bordered by a forest, known as Witchwood Hollow. Over the years many people have wandered into the woods never to return. The legend of the witch is well known about town. Soon after arrival, Honoria is introduced to the woods by a couple of kids from her new school, but instead of being afraid, she finds a kind of peace among the trees. Could the witch help her reunite with her parents or will she become trapped forever?

Escape from Witchwood Hollow was an easy and fast read which I really enjoyed. The story was appealing and intriguing, while the characters were interesting and well-written. There was an undertone of sadness throughout the story, with many of the characters experiencing the loss of a loved one, or being lost themselves.

This book is not about witchcraft per se, it is more about historical occurrences becoming an urban myth, and the way that such a myth is regarded by locals and newcomers to the area. The story centres on Honoria, and her experiences in Arnn and the woods in 2001. However, it is also about Lady Clifford, an immigrant new to the Arnn area during the 1600s, and another English immigrant, Albertine, who arrives in Arnn in 1850. Both of whom entered the woods never to return. I liked the way the story spanned across and entwined the stories and times of the three young women.

I felt sorry for Honoria, given the tragic loss of her parents. Her behaviour felt realistic for the situation. Something good for Honoria from the move to Arnn was her burgeoning friendship with her neighbour, Leon. Proximity brought them together, but a shared interest in local history and the legend of Witchwood Hollow strengthened their bond. I really liked everything about Leon, he was my favourite character.

Something I found a little odd in the story was the obsession with clothing brands. It was weird, and completely redundant to the story, so why emphasise their fashion choices?

Escape from Witchwood Hollow is suitable for upper primary and high school students and is perfect for fantasy lovers.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers

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bigfootBigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers and illustrated by Catherine Straus, picture e-book, 24 pages, published by Jeffers Publishing in 2016.

Come on a journey through the Pacific Northwest to see if you can spot evidence of Bigfoot. Look for his footprints, nest or broken trees; you might even spy Bigfoot himself!

I had a lot of fun looking for Bigfoot on each page. The illustrations are very detailed, and evidence of Bigfoot is well hidden, so it was quite satisfying when I was able to spot him! It’s really difficult to decide which scene is my favourite, as they are all great, but I think I like the gold-panning river scene best. I really liked the way the trees on every page were depicted.

The story is told through simple rhyme, and contains facts about the myth of Bigfoot. The language is basic, suitable for younger children, and the text is quite clear, despite the busyness of each page. Some of the story is spent reminding the reader to keep an eye open for the ever elusive Bigfoot.

I read this as an e-book. Unfortunately, in this format each page didn’t align with it’s pair, as it would when the paperback version is opened to any given page. Ergo, I would have preferred to read the physical book, but it was really only a minor inconvenience, and I still enjoyed it very much.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest is suitable for children and adults, though I think primary school students would enjoy it the most. It is good to share with children, helping them to spot evidence of Bigfoot, and talking about the legend. We also spoke about other things we could see in each scene, such as explaining gold-panning.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

The Ship of Sight and the Hand of Shadow by Brydie Walker Bain

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shipofsight coverThe Ship of Sight and the Hand of Shadow by Brydie Walker Bain, e-book, 136 pages, published by Smashwords Editions in 2015.

Nat and the gang are back, ready for a new adventure! When Barnaby accidentally uncovers a skeleton, a necklace is thrust upon Nat, and she must take it home. With Abraham guiding them, they begin a journey through the North Island of New Zealand to prove themselves worthy of the task set them. The task’s challenges are only part of the difficult journey, as they are hunted by Drake and her new off-sider, the Scout. They are determined to stop the children by any means necessary, but the gang are just as determined to complete their task.

This is the second book in The Natnat Adventures series. It is a fast paced and exhilarating jaunt across the North Island of New Zealand, over waterfalls and cliff tops, through forests and along beaches as Abraham guides the youngsters to their destination. There is action, adventure, and villainy, all wrapped up in fantasy and myth. It is a wonderful page turner, that I really got into. I liked the fantasy elements best, especially the talking trees. It’s all described so well that I could picture it just as if I had experienced it myself. It was fun to go on another adventure with Nat. I hope there are many more to come!

Nat and Riki are my favourite characters out of the kids. They possess courage and ingenuity, and are down to earth too. The boys are all a little bit over the top, racing about, being loud and loutish, though mostly in a lovable way. The boys really developed in this story, gaining knowledge, wisdom, and a sliver of decorum! Again, Abraham was my favourite, he seems to know everything, predicts the future, pops up where he is most needed, and never gives up on the kids. He’s an omnipotent grandfatherly figure, very trustworthy, generous and wise. There were hints as to his relationship with Drake through the story, and I am very curious to find out where she fits in. Drake is horrible, well written, but malevolent.

The Ship of Sight and the Hand of Shadow answered some of the questions left from the first book in the series, The Secret of Sinbad’s Cave, but it also created a lot more! The mystery is complex and intriguing. Hopefully the next book, The Lost River (coming soon), will hold more clues and answers!

This series is great for middle to upper primary school children, and adventure fans of all ages.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.