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The Keeper of the Isis...
Monica Hughes
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The Keeper of the Isis Light (Isis #1)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  913 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Olwen 16 lived her whole life alone on planet Isis with Guardian. To her more than a robot, he saw the danger to the human baby from such a harsh climate. When settlers come from Earth, she no longer needs to operate the Lighthouse. She and Mark 17 care deeply for each other, yet Guardian insists she wear a face mask and suit. Mark sees beneath and her world changes.
136 pages
Published (first published 1980)
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else fine
Aug 08, 2009 else fine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: misanthropes and monkey wrenchers
This was my favorite book as a kid. It held up well: the perfectly timed build-up of the plot, the vivid and beautiful descriptions of a high desert world, and the believability of the main character were all as riveting as they seemed when I was ten. Though the book deals with Serious Issues, as young adult books do, it doesn't offer any simple solutions, and the resolution, though quietly satisfying, isn't quite the happy ending you'd expect. It offers a moral lesson I enjoyed as much this tim ...more
Oct 13, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, ya
After her parents died in a freak storm, Olwen has grown up alone on the alien world of Isis. She spends her days roaming the planet she considers her own. The only person she speaks to is the Guardian of Isis. But at last, colonists are coming to Isis.

This book feels very dated. The style of writing, the gender norms, the tech, all felt very golden-age scifi. Additionally, the OMG PLOT TWISTs are excrutiatingly obvious. Once they're out of the way, the story improves. Overall, I did quite like
An Odd1
Dec 11, 2014 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Olwen Pendennis p 41 16 has lived her whole life alone on the planet Isis with Guardian after a radiation storm killed her parents Gareth and Liz p 203. To her more than a robot "a thousand times friend .. much much wiser" p 150, he could not protect the baby human body from such a harsh climate. (view spoiler) When "eighty settlers" p 25 come from Earth, she no longer needs to operate the Lighthouse, "only the s ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this in 7th grade and was truly fascinated by the story of the girl Olwen living alone on a planet with her robot keeper. Everything is turned upside down when she is 16 and colonists arrive from Earth. The story covers themes of loneliness, prejudice and what makes someone human. I found myself fiercely loyal to Olwen while not truly knowing her at all (or did I?)

Rereading The Keeper of the Isis Light (20 years later) I was similarly intrigued by the story. This book has a few unf
Pam Baddeley
First in a trilogy, this tells the story of the culture clash between Olwen, survivor of the family sent to the planet Isis to tend the beacon there and survey the planet for human colonisation, and the newly arrived colonists. Olwen's Guardian robot, her friend and servant, has adapted his charge to survive on Isis and this brings her into a serious clash with the colonists, with resultant heartbreak for Olwen, and sets up the situation for the next volume in the series.

There are some fine evoc
Julie Decker
Olwen lives alone with a computer companion on a planet called Isis. Her parents have passed away and she's the remaining guardian of "the Isis Light," which is like a beacon to draw possible settlers to the planet. She knows nothing of companionship or culture, but her whole life has built to the moment where human settlers would arrive. But what will she do upon encountering the humans and finding the companions she's been craving would no longer recognize her as one of them?

The way this story
Johan Haneveld
A bit of a slight book, with an old fashioned approach to SF (well, it was published in 1980, so that's not something to hold against it. It even woke up feelings of nostalgia for 'golden age science fiction'). It's beautifully written, accessible (it's a YA novel), with engaging though slightly two dimensional protagonists. The romance develops fast, maybe unrealistically so (it's more of a crush), but fitting with its conclusion. The story takes an emotional approach to its twist (and not a sc ...more
Olwen Pendennis and her companion, Guardian, are the only beings on the planet Isis. They tend the lighthouse, and send regular reports back to Earth about the living conditions on Isis.Everything changes when, at the beginning of the story, a group of 80 settlers from earth arrive to colonize the planet. Olwen's perfect paradise has been shattered. The rest of the plot revolves around her interaction with the settlers, her romantic interest in Mark (one of the settlers), and disconcerting revel ...more
Mar 12, 2015 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of early YA novels
Shelves: young-adult, sf, 2015
Title: The Keeper of the Isis Light
Author: Monica Hughes
Genre: YA, SF
Setting: The planet Isis, current population only two - a young girl and her guardian.
Reason for Reading: I believe I saw mention of this trilogy online, and was intrigued.
Finished In: Days, maybe two of them.
Pages: 240
Copyright Date: 1980
Cover: A girl with long red hair wearing a metallic suit.
First line: "It was a day like any other day on Isis, and yet, when it was over, nothing would ever be the same again."
Themes: Identi
Jul 20, 2014 Ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual Rating is 3.5

It feels good to go back to one of the older YA author's works. Monica Hughes was definitely a groundbreaker of YA Science Fiction and, boy, am I glad she explored the genre!

Hughes writing style is clear, simplistic (but not condescendingly so,) and descriptive. Her world-building and setting are easy to visualize. The planet of Isis and the details of the sun, radiation, valleys, and peaks were definitely a strong point in this novel.

Her characters are... good enough. Whil
Jan 27, 2015 Kaila marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tor-com
It's always fairly jolting to me when I discover this rad new book from whatever various blog I'm reading and go to mark it as to-read, only to discover I already did at some point in the past. Case in point: this book.
Susan Grant-suttie
This book is excellent for a 13 year old to experience the fantasy genre. It is not overly complicated with characters, but on the other hand, it explores the emotions that all people experience at this time. It allows the opportunity to explore the notion of exploration and the effects of people on the land and the people who inhabit it - and in this case there is one person and one android. It puts forth the question, how do we value each other, how do we connect with each other, what defines ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember loving this book
Not sure where this one came from. I periodically pick up YA books with the grandgirls in mind, always on the lookout for something that they might like. The keeper of the Isis Light has themes common to many books for this audience: defining beauty/goodness, being true to yourself and overcoming prejudice and obstacles. Olwen lives alone, after the death of her human parents, on the planet Isis, with her companion "The Guardian". Rather than have superpowers or some sort of mystical abilities, ...more
Jun 16, 2013 Dario rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As readers, it is sometimes our rare and happy pleasure to discover a book that nestles in the soul long after the cover has closed. The Keeper Of The Isis Light is such a book. This science-fiction treasure’s simple plot is driven by writing that is clear and concise, and yet wholly descriptive at the same time. Hughes employs a type of authorial alchemy to paint a sumptuous vision of Olwen’s world and the troubles she faces when unexpected change arrives in the form of a colony ship from over ...more
I read this book when I was a preteen and remember enjoying it, but for some reason I never read the 3rd book of the trilogy and therefore decided to reread it. However, the second time around I liked it less. I still love Monica Hughes and her writing style, but this book's content didn't measure up to my remembrance/expectations. I was highly annoyed by the insta!love between Mark and Olwen. I can kind of understand it from Olwen, since she hadn't met a boy her age before, but it just seemed v ...more
Olwen has lived alone on the planet of Isis with her Guardian for as long as she can remember. She is the Keeper of the Isis Light and reports back to Earth the status of the planet for future colonists. Olwen loves her life, she loves belonging to the planet and being with Guardian. Shortly after her 10th (earth's 16yrs) birthday a rocket ship lands. Her guardian insists she wear a protective suit whenever she meets the new arrivals who are making a home on her planet. Then she falls in love wi ...more
Dec 27, 2013 R.G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
like all her books it seems you only know half the tale because you only know what the main character knows… but I wouldn’t call it a mystery… it’s just a huge surprise coming your way… Olwen is an interesting character… she hasn’t actually been alone, she has her Guardian… so she’s very smart and likable… but you get that excitement from her to finally get to meet new people… finally have kids her own age to know… but she learns that people aren’t all that she expected and perhaps don’t appreci ...more
It's cataloged as a Young Adult novel, but I'd put it more towards 10-13 years than 13+. A good "starter sci-fi" book for kids in that age group, perhaps. Underlying themes of acceptance of self and others, and change. Really descriptive world building.

As an adult, about halfway through the character interactions turned odd and strangely clunky. If this were an adult novel I'd give it 2 stars, but I'll give it 3 with "early teen" in mind.

Emmett Chase
A young girl who is also a harsh, beautiful planet loses her virginity to settlers who invade her special area. It sounds strange but I think it's accurate. This is funky 80's british Young Adult sci-fi and it's not completely predictable, the characters aren't cardboard, the writing and descriptions of the other world are good and the ending is more like personal growth than "they lived happily ever after." I enjoyed it.
Maria Renate
One of my favorite sci-fi's, the story of the mysterious young woman raised and loved by her guardian robot. When humans arrive at Isis, there is romance, and tragedy. Hughes has an element of sadness in her books that is similar to Reeve's Hungry City Chronicles, and the robot Guardian could be a gentle kith to the horrific, tragic Stalker.
Juneau Public Library
This science fiction chapter book tells the story of Olwen Pendennis, who is tasked with monitoring the uninhabited planet of Isis, in case the planet someday becomes a colony. After years of living alone with only her android companion, Guardian, Olwen's life is changed completely by the arrival of colonists.

This is a book that seems to be going one way, and then suddenly goes in a completely different direction, and it really made me think.

Recommended by Kate
Lianne Burwell
Jan 20, 2015 Lianne Burwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I read this as a preteen, having bought it at a book event my teacher signed me up for, along with Crisis on Conshelf Ten. Both books were ones I read over and over again as a kid. I was a rather shy kid, so I very much identified with the outsider feelings of the main character. Definitely a good book for an insecure girl.
I liked Monica Hughes a lot when I was a kid, though these days I tend not to like my science fiction as hard as hers was. Anyway, this one is about a girl on another planet who's basically been raised by some kinda computer. She is in charge of the "Isis Light," a sorta lighthouse contraption that's supposed to bring humans in safely if they decide to land there and colonize. But when she finally gets her first chance to meet humans after a life alone, she finds out she's a lot different from t ...more
Alexis Allinson
Jun 30, 2014 Alexis Allinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel about the hardships of colonization outside of earth. It tells the story of a young girl raised on a planet only to find out she isn't what she always thought she was when the settlers arrive. A wonderful novel aimed at young readers but I feel anyone at any age will enjoy.
A girl who has lived on a planet all by herself must deal with settlers suddenly arriving and changing the home she ahs always known.

Liked it more than I thought I would. But I'd heard a girl speak about the book... so I knew the big secret twist ahead of time. I might have liked it better if I hadn't. The setting was vivid. The characters were pretty well-developed.

Multiple times I thought the author's word choice was awkward. The relationship between Orlen and Mark
Nicole Luiken
Jul 14, 2012 Nicole Luiken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, sfantasy
In honour of Dreamline being named a finalist for the Monica Hughes Science Fiction and Fantasy Award (CCBC) I thought I'd review some of my favourite Monica Hughes books. I read the Isis books during my junior high years--and read them and reread them many times.

I loved Olwen, the orphaned child lightkeeper on a distant planet, who grew up in the care of a robot, and is bewildered and excited when a colony from Earth lands on her planet.

The revelations at the end about her pet and Olwen hersel
Apr 10, 2009 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, scifi
A quick read that packs an astounding amount of action and and emotion into each page. The book is beautifully plotted and lyrically written, with a very simple story at its heart that unfolds into many smaller complexities. The setting and Olwen's alien upbringing within it are evocatively conveyed, and give the whole book a distinctive, dreamlike immediacy. The two main characters are simply portrayed but come to life with quite a depth of poignancy. If you're interested in sci-fi, particularl ...more
Jun 09, 2016 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
First read this when I was 13, and remembered the title all these years later to reread it. Pretty solid scifi.
Julie LaPlant
Apr 04, 2016 Julie LaPlant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My 8th grade self would have given this book 4 stars. It might be fun to read it again as an adult ...more
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Monica Hughes was a very popular writer for young people, and has won numerous prizes. Her books have been published in the United States, Poland, Spain, Japan, France, Scandinavia, England, and Germany. She has twice received the Canada Council Prize for Children's Literature, and was runner-up for the Guardian Award.

She is the author of Keeper of the Isis Light, an American Library Association B
More about Monica Hughes...

Other Books in the Series

Isis (4 books)
  • The Guardian of Isis (Isis, #2)
  • The Isis Pedlar (Isis, #3)
  • The Isis Trilogy

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