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The Floating Island
Elizabeth Haydon
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The Floating Island (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,367 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme--known as Ven--is the youngest son of a long line of famous shipwrights. He dreams not of building ships, but of sailing them to far-off lands where magic thrives. Ven gets his chance when he is chosen to direct the Inspection of his family's latest ship--and sets sail on the journey of a lifetime.Attacked by fire pirates, lost at sea and near ...more
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Turtleback Books (first published August 22nd 2006)
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One of my favorite fantasy authors is Elizabeth Haydon, so when I saw she'd written a YA book (indeed the first in a series) I snapped it up. This book had a little bit of everything: adventure, fire pirates, travel, mystery. It was also a nice start to a series, because as it stands, the book itself is complete, without cliffhangers or loose ends, but with the promise of likable characters and lots of future adventures and puzzles.

The telling of the story might annoy some, as there is narrative
Carol Moran
I agree totally with Anne Hamilton's review of this book. I enjoyed it so much that I completed the 3 book set and was equally satisfied with each story. If there is a 4th, which is hinted at, I will read it as well. My only disappointment is in the cover art. I wish the cameo was the main focus and the dragon the cameo. This applies to each, The Thief Queens Daughter and The Dragon's Lair. The change would be a better representation of the content.
Made it to page 111 and then gave up. Just couldn't get into it
Anne Hamilton
The Floating Island – the Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme
Initially, this slow–starting story felt like a variation on a Victorian gothic machine fantasy (no, not steampunk!), except for being set in the world of Vaarn and Serendair. Somewhere along the way however, the story tilted out of the twilight into something quite different: light and dark, charm and strange.

Ven Polypheme is a fifty-year old Nain, a child by the standards of his dwarf-like race and the son of a master shipbuilder. His bro
Kat Heckenbach
I debated about marking this story down to a 3.5. There were some flaws--bits of plot that didn't feel completely woven in, but I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt and assuming there is more to the story that will be revealed in the next book or books. There were a few cheesy moments in the story, too, but they were pretty few and far between.

Overall, I thought the premise of the story was pretty original. The characters were likable and well-developed. I liked how the author highlig
Don't care who you are. This book is really, really good.

After being SUPER sick and disgusted with fantasy novels for a few months, simply because so many of them take so much effort to get into and understand and I was tired of it, I picked this up and was waltzed right into a swashbuckling, Narnia/Star Wars (but it's not sci-fi)/The Hobbit-esque tale that didn't try to be anything than what it was. Very refreshing.

Writing wise there were a few sentences I would have edited but hey, nobody's p
ho-hum, what to say....

I found this book so very dull that I did the unimaginable. I returned it to the library without even finishing the ending!! I never do that. However, this book was so predictable that I found myself unable to continue reading. The back and front covers had me interested, with the hopes that the "kid in jail" theme might develop into something like "The Thief" by Megan Whalen Turner. No such luck. This was such standard fare fantasy fluff that I could almost read the next
Ven Polypheme, the youngest son of a family of shipbuilders, is unusual even among his family. For one, he's a Nain thirsting for adventure, when the rest of his brothers compete for the honor of staying home during the final Inspection of their ships. On Ven's first Inspection, however, things go horribly wrong. On the other side of the world, locked in a dungeon, Ven writes his story in the hope that the king will be merciful.

From the first sentences, the plot starts strong and never lets up.
James Mayr
Most adolescent adventure novels struggle to give their protagonist the freedom and foundation to go on a quest, resorting to the age-old tactic of "orphan seeking revenge." We see this in Harry Potter, in Batman, in another novel I just read ("Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson), and countless other coming-of-age science fiction and fantasy, but we do not see it in Elizabeth Haydon's "Ven Polypheme" series. Instead, the titular character is swept into adventure by accident when a routine inspecti ...more
OK people from what I remember from this book they didn't even metion a dragon,well expect from something about a place but I might be remembering that from a different book.So generally there's NO DRAGON.
Jennifer Spencer
Mar 12, 2010 Jennifer Spencer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elisia Hopkins
I liked this one. The description and characters were interesting. There were a few times when the pacing of the book lagged a little but it was very enjoyable to read
Charlyn  Trussell
Ven Polypheme is a Nain, a race who more frequently lives below ground. But Ven's father is a shipbuilder and Ven is the youngest son of a line of shipbuilders. Each of Ven's brothers has a specialty in the business, but Ven has never developed a particular talent. Now at age 50, he is coming into adolescence for the Nain, but he still has not developed the characteristic beard of his people.

Unlike his brothers, however, he does take a trip over the water. Not a trip he chose to go on, but his
J. Else
I very much enjoyed this book. It was a rich world that left alot to mystery. It does not throw the world in your face but introduces you to more aspects of it in each chapter. You never find yourself lost or confused in the world. The focus stays on the main character and his motivations, but the background characters are prominent enough that you do not forget them when mentioned later. I liked the mystical quality. The storyline did not rely on fantastical events or deux ex machinas to wrap i ...more
The book was good with an awesome story and a nice twist.
It's just that, for me, small details annoyed me through out the book.
The dragon in the front cover.... Why?... there's NO dragon through out the book. Only in words that, "There are dragons under sea".
Races weren't really introduced in depth in the book except for merrow and to the end of the book I was left with more questions on Nain which is the race of the main character, Ven. Everyone somehow seemed to know he was young but he was ta
The Floating Island, the first in the series of books, is written in an interesting, unique way. It starts out explaining that pieces of the journal of the famous explorer Ven Polypheme have been found, telling about all his adventures, and that careful research has been done to fill in the gaps of the story where the journal's entries couldn't be found. And it does just that.

It starts out in first-person, from Ven's point of view as part of his first journal entry. It then switches to third-per
In the first of (so far) three books in a series titled "The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme," we become acquainted with an unusual member of the dwarf-like race of the Nain. Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme is the youngest son of a family of shipwrights. Each of his older brothers has a respectable beard and the mastery of one specialized area of the ship-building business, from boiling pitch to forging iron. The whole family is unusual compared to most Nain, who prefer to live underground, digging ...more
If you like Tolkein-like fantasy with a seaboard twist, this might be the series for you.

Personally, I'm still struggling with the decision to move on to the second book. My hope is that, now that all that appear to be the main cast have their foothold, that future plots will progress more swiftly. My biggest complaint is that the story moved too slowly. While character development is important and I'm a fan of internal monologue, it made the story drag on unnecessarily. Facts and worries were
OK, kind of long-winded. This epic fantasy was not as captivating as I thought it would be. There was lots of action, but the whole "journal" thing was more annoying than anything. I read it because it had good reviews-even a star from Booklist...

SLJ Review
Ven Polypheme, a young Nain explorer, traveled much of the known and unknown world. Recently discovered fragments of his journal are the inspiration for this exciting and imaginative tale. Ven, a short, hobbitlike fellow, is celebrating his 50
Bonnie Gayle
I liked this book a whole lot, and was glad to see a sequel. The plot evolves slowly and organically, so I don't want to give away anything that happens too far into it.

Ven is from a race that lives underground. They do not feel comfortable unless their feet are in the dirt. His Grandfather, though, decided to be different, although they called him mad, and started his own ship building business. Ven works in this same business, and his life is changed forever when he draws the short straw that
Ven Polypheme at 50 and beardless is the youngest among his 13 siblings. His family is of the Nain race, and is famous for shipbuilding. All Ven's brothers and his 1 sister have jobs at which they excel by virtue of their unique talents and interests, but Ven feels a bit like he doesn't belong. On his 50th birthday, he draws the short straw and must take the newest ship out for inspection. He's excited about this since he - unlike his brothers - is not afraid of the water. All seems to be in ord ...more
I liked this magical coming-of-age story more than I had expected, though I found the faux-journal thing pretty annoying. The author purportedly is filling in the story between fragments of Ven Polypheme’s lost journals; however, it really seems that Haydon wanted to have some first-person comments in a third-person narrative, and so used this device. Anyway, Ven lives in a world where several different non-human, magical races coexist with humans. He is a 50-year-old boy, the youngest son in a ...more
J.L. Burger
A solid thumbs-up on this book.

There's a lot to love about the Ven Polypheme books. Haydon has created a fantasy environment that is quite engaging. Each new chapter seems to introduce new elements of wonder, from mermaids (she calls them 'merrows') to mammoth sea monsters, to hard-to-find floating islands, to young kings with an affinity for puzzles.

The plot is well put-together and the characters are fun, for the most part. Every once in a while she interjects bits and parts of Ven's diaries,
Sep 08, 2011 Brittani rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adventure Seekers
The book seemed boring at first as all the beginning had consisted of was docks and ships. But just before the middle of the book, it gets interesting. Events happen, some unfortunate and some just plain magnificent, making it a fantasy. The realistic, occasional journal entries had me awestruck. It was well worded and only lacked one thing- Emotion. Even though the entries were well written and thought up, it had lacked character, or emotion, that was apparent. If I could give it a more exact r ...more
This book saved itself. Just when I was about to move on without finishing it, there was a twist. One that I kind of expected, and almost didn't accept as reason to keep reading. But then there was a twist in the twist, and I had to finish the book. And I'm glad I did.

By the time I got to the end, the story of this first book in the series had been told completely, with no loose ends. No cliffhanger or burning questions to make me feel like I need to read the next one right now. But I am still e
Slow paced, but very exciting story! The characters are realistically awesome, the plot is unpredictable, AND THE WORLD BUILDING IS FREAKING AMAZING! I could have a vacation there and happily meet all the different races and creatures. This book has its fair share of humor too, and gave me plenty of giggles. Ven and Char are the best when it comes to delivering laughter, whenever they'd get together, I'd always cheer inside because the two of them are so entertaining.

The highlight of this book i
This Delightful book has everything: Travel, adventure, puzzles, magic and oh so much more!!! Our Dear Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme (what a name huh :) ) is charming and real. The people he encounters are fascinating and very well drawn. There's exciting suspense and great humor. The story is compelling but never confusing. Many books out these days are way too long for their own good, certainly for ours. I look for books where I don't have to march toward the end, but that I'm sad they finishe ...more
I personally loved this book. It was a great adventure story mixed with all sorts of magic. It was a quick read for me.
The story is about Ven Polypheme, a Nain, turning fifty which means he is finally old enough to be picked in the draw of who does the Inspection run of the boat against his brothers. Ven believes he will never have a story worth telling. On his birthday an albatross feather falls toward the ground and he catches it hoping it will give him luck. When he is chosen to do the Inspec
Emanuel P.
-This book is for anyone who wants to read a story about a great adventure, and action.
-I would give this book a 3.5 out 5 stars.
-I thought it was a pretty good book in general. But i would have liked it a little more if it were a little more fast paced, there were times when i got interested in actually reading, but then there were those when it went too slow, it lagged if you would say. I don't think i will be reading the second book, i just don't believe this book was meant for me. I would w
Boring and not worth the time. Bland characters. Not a great plot. I just didn't care about what happened. At all. Ven is a shipmaker's son and a Nain, so even though he is 50 years old he appears to be 13 or there abouts. He is on a ship when it is attacked by pirates. Ship sinks. Ven survives. He is saved by a merrow. Honestly, I would have preferred him kissing her, her dragging him down to the depths of the ocean and them living happily ever after. Alas that is not the way it went at all. Ve ...more
Benjamin Wilkins
Really more like a 2.5. Once I started, it was just good enough not to quit half way through, but I don't plan on picking up the rest of the series. It does have it's moments though.
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Elizabeth Haydon (* 1965 in Michigan) is a fantasy author, whose 1999 debut, Rhapsody: Child of Blood, garnered comparisons with Goodkind, Jordan, and even Tolkien. She has written two fantasy series set within the same universe, The fantasy/romance/whodunit fusion called The Symphony of Ages and the young adult series The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.

An herbalist, harpist, and madrigal singer,
More about Elizabeth Haydon...

Other Books in the Series

The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme (4 books)
  • The Thief Queen's Daughter (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, #2)
  • The Dragon's Lair (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, #3)
  • The Tree of Water (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, #4)
Rhapsody: Child of Blood (Symphony of Ages, #1) Prophecy: Child of Earth (Symphony of Ages, #2) Destiny: Child of the Sky (Symphony of Ages, #3) Requiem for the Sun (Symphony of Ages, #4) Elegy for a Lost Star (Symphony of Ages, #5)

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