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The Dark Hills Divide (The Land of Elyon #1)

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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,571 Ratings  ·  799 Reviews
Young readers will love the lush story of THE DARK HILLS DIVIDE, which is filled with intrigue, endless surprises and moral questions that are relevant to their own lives. Set in a fantasy world, the story features a 12-year-old girl who finds a key that unlocks the dark mysteries that lie in the forests beyond her village's high walls.
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Orchard Books (first published August 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ann
I wasn't able to read this book every day like I usually do with novels, so for a long time I attributed my lack of interest in it's characters, and my confusion regarding the plot, to the fact that I wasn't able to keep the flow. But the more I read the more confused I got (I was actually intrigued at the beginning) and the end left me scratching my head wondering what the point of the story was.

Like I said, the beginning was intriguing, governmental type meeting, a suspicious death, a riddle,
...more
Kogiopsis
So, my relationship with this book is weird. I was in fourth grade when it first came out, living in the same town as Patrick Carman, and in that small community it was a big deal to have a local author, especially when he got picked up by Scholastic. My teacher actually read this book aloud to the class - though I think it was actually the independent edition, in which Chapter 18 includes a bizarre detour into the world of dentistry. (You think I'm kidding? I still own that book, and I checked, ...more
Jerome
Aug 13, 2013 Jerome rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexa is apparently the ONLY child in existence, not to mention the only FEMALE in existence, given that her mother is on the periphery, only communicating through a letter, and that Renny is dead. Even Odessa, Darius' wife, has no speaking part. Alexa lives in a bizarre community of middle-aged men which is a just plain weird. Where are all the other children? I thought this was a kids book?

Alexa is, especially in the first half, far too passive a character. She is told what to do by adults or
...more
Shantelle
What a delightful and charming tale! I can hardly believe I've been missing out on this splendid, little series all this time!

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman brings us into the intriguing Land of Elyon, where we meet sweet Alexa Daley, who is quite smart and courageous. She's been trying for quite a while to learn of what lies beyond the walls that at times seem to imprison her. Meanwhile, her father and his fellow advisers and friends try to keep her out of trouble. But upon old Warvold
...more
Despair Speaking
The Dark Hills Divide is a simple fantasy book directed to children that has captivated my heart in more ways than I imagined. I do not know why I am so in love with this book; it has the same basic elements of other fantastical children stories and it doesn't really deviate itself from the norm. But the seaming of the lovable characters, the mysterious setting, and the adventure was so well done that it become a beautiful work.

We see from the point of view of Alexa, a gusty and curious girl who
...more
Joey
Apr 29, 2016 Joey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
Perfect little fantasy adventure. Plus it has a talking squirrel. Easy 5 star.
Kit
May 28, 2008 Kit rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping that this would be a series I could recommend to voracious middle-grade fantasy readers, but no such luck. There are the seeds of a good story here, with at least one good character and the possibility of a suspenseful plot. As it stands, though, they are overwhelmed by vast info-dump and the feeling that it doesn't matter if anything the characters do is something a real, sane person would do - if the author needs it to happen, it's going to happen regardless of how many WTFs it in ...more
Bix
May 14, 2008 Bix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexa, a spirited, independent twelve-year-old growing up in a complex of walled villages, longs for adventure and a chance to see what lies beyond the walls' boundaries. When she discovers a secret passage, she gets her wish, and more adventure than she bargained for in the process. For Alexa has been chosen to save her home from dark forces which seek its destruction, and she must act quickly to unravel the mystery that lurks inside the walls and threatens everything she holds dear. This first ...more
Arwen
Feb 21, 2014 Arwen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to group my thoughts on this trilogy into one entry. Wow! What an introduction to Patrick Carman. This series is fantastic. A fantasy story about a young girl (I know, I know some of you signed just then because every other YA fantasy story is a about a young girl who finds herself with some special power to save her world.) And yes this one is starts out just the same. Alexa Daley is given a special stone and thrust into a world she doesn't know beyond the safe walls of her city with ...more
Amalia
Oct 21, 2010 Amalia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: walls
The Dark Hills Divide takes us on an exciting and mysterious adventure as we explore the many walls within our lives. Some of these boundaries we impose upon ourselves, some are put upon us by the society in which we live; some are physical, and some are emotional.

The Land of Elyon is divided into four walled and gated cities joined to each other by walled roads. Every gate in every city is guarded. As far as everyone knows, there is no way to the "other" side of the wall.

Every summer, the leade
...more
Janeen-san
Sep 10, 2010 Janeen-san rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alexa is a 12-year-old girl, who lives in the walled sea-side city of Lathubury. Alexa and her father are traveling on their annul trip from Lathbury to Bridewell. Bridwell is the "spoke of the wheel"; three other cities branch out from it, and all of them are surrounded by 48-feet high stone walls, which the legendary traveler Warvold built, long ago in his youth, to protect those he loved from the terrors of the wild.

The real story--and danger--begins with the sudden death of Warvold, setting
...more
D.M. Dutcher
Odd book about a girl named Alexa in a city entirely walled off from a forest down to the roads coming in and going out. The convicts who built the city and are abandoned outside are falling under the sway of a person named Sebastian, and plan to invade. It's up to Alexa and some talking animals to stop them.

There's just too many odd decisions and twists to make sense. They mentioned building the walls to stave off some evil, but what evil and why are the convicts immune to it? Why does Alexa ne
...more
Veronica
Dec 11, 2012 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel is about an adventurous girl, Alexa Daley. This summer – like every other summer – she’s with her father and visiting a village, Bridewell. For a twelve-year-old she’s eager to solve the mystery of what lies beyond the walls that surround the village. Here she discovers the truth and “exposes a danger that could destroy and change the Land of Elyon forever.” (The last dramatic words from the blurb)

I would recommend this novel, if you like adventure and have a curious mind that’s opened
...more
Sierrah O
Oct 23, 2009 Sierrah O rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really like this book because it is fantasy. I really don't know why i like fantasy. This book was really good because Alexa trys to save as many people as she can. She also is just a very caring person like me. The author really didn't explain much about it or what is happening in some parts. Like she told us who she was saving but like not how she saved them. Thats what I don't like about this book. I also like this book because she meets a lot of people who are like monsters but not exactly ...more
Nikoleta
Nov 01, 2015 Nikoleta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ενα όμορφο παραμύθι. Αμα το είχα στα χέρια μου όταν ήμου πιτσιρίκα, θα είχα ξετρελαθεί. Τώρα μου φάνηκε λίγο πιο αφελές απ'οτι θα ήθελα. 3,5/5 αστεράκια.
Zen
Feb 14, 2016 Zen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. I just couldn't get over the fact that the protagonist was the only female with a speaking role in the entire book... for no good reason. Then, when I saw that this was written specifically for the author's two daughters I was confused. Why would any father present so many creepy male characters (including the protagonist's father) in a tale aimed at girls. There was no empowering sense of girls being able to "overcome", either. I hope the series got better but ...more
Larissa
Oct 31, 2010 Larissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Twelve year old Alexa has spent her whole life confined within the city walls of Bridewell longing to see more, longing to explore a world beyond the walls. But the walls were built to protect those living in the city, they were built to keep the dangers out and it was against the law to leave. But what if the real danger was not outside the walls but within?

Alexa would spend her days in the city playing as a spy, hiding in the shadows. Then when she discovered a key, a secret passageway and a m
...more
Jess
Mar 20, 2009 Jess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jess by: 6th grade girl
Shelves: fantasy, juniors, z_09
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alberto
I'm afraid that although I read this book, there was nothing notable about it that causes me to remember anything from it. I think it was written in that style for people who read books on the beach to relax, because it was very slow going. Since I didn't read it on a beach, that could be why I didn't get as much out of it. I wish that I could try that, but my family doesn't have any beach towels. I feel like writing a review is the polite thing to do, but I really only remember there was a man ...more
Amy
Jul 17, 2009 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tween-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Jo.
May 16, 2010 Sarah Jo. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: 2010, magic
The Walls are what has kept Bridewell safe.
The Walls keep the unknowns away.
...But the walls will destroy them all.



Alexa is a twelve year old girl from the town of Lathbury in the Land of Elyon. Alexa and her father travel to Eloyn's capitol, Bridewell, for the summer holiday when an old magic deep inside the kingdom's history come to play once more. With the asistence of this old magic Alexa must find who is not who they seem. The very people surronding her are the people she cares about, love
...more
Desiree
Jan 13, 2015 Desiree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Enjoyable enough, but I did have a few issues with it, some spelling mistakes and some things with the history of the place. Also, Alexa came to some conclusions just a bit too quickly. So, some things felt rushed. Overall, this is definitely a story that I would have enjoyed a whole lot more 10 years ago when I first bought it at a Scholastic Book Fair, when I was closer to Alexa's age. I will continue on with the rest of the series, but I'm not dying to read the next one since this wrapped up ...more
Emma
Oct 25, 2015 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Dark Hills Divide (The Land of Elyon, #1) is the first book I have read by Patrick Carmen. Right now Patrick Carmen is my favorite author and The Dark Hills Divide is my favorite book. I have read the reviews of his other books trying to see which one to read next and most of the reviews were amazing and some were not, but I am going to read the next book Beyond the Valley of Thorns (The Land of Elyon, #2). I love The Dark Hills Divide it is amazing until it gets to the middle for a while wh ...more
Seychelles Manfre
Este libro es uno de los mayores misterios en mi vida...
Lo compré hace como seis o siete años y ahora, a mis 20 años, aún no lo encuentro... Y lo único que recuerdo fue lo mucho que me gustó al momento en que lo leí y cuan decepcionada he estado desde ese momento hasta ahora en que lo he extraviado...

Es más triste aún, porque considero este libro como una parte de mi niñez, uno de los libros más interesantes que me parecían en ese momento. Ahora quiero leerlo de nuevo y simplemente ¡no lo encue
...more
Jesse
Oct 29, 2014 Jesse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like many of the other reviewers, I really wanted to like this book. It has an intriguing premise: a series of cities, walled off from the rest of the world, connected by walled roads, and a curious and adventurous protagonist who was dying to know what was on the other side of the wall.

Sounds good to me! And it was a great idea for a story, but (and I'm sorry, because I hate saying this) the problem was the writing itself. I know it's a clichéd phrase, but this was definitely telling instead o
...more
Büşra Göç
Okuduğum diğer fantastik kitaplara kıyasla biraz sığ kaldı. Romanda çok fazla karakter olmadığı gibi, çok iyi bir kurgu da yok. Yine de okurken basit bir fantastik film izler gibi, kelimeler düşüncelerinizde resmediliyor. Fantastik severler çerez niyetine okuyabilirler. Kitabın sonu öyle ahım şahım merak uyandırarak da bitirilmemiş ama yine de serinin diğer kitaplarını da okumayı düşünüyorum. Çoğu zaman serilerin ilk kitapları biraz sıkıntılı olmuştur. Son olarak puanım 2.5
R.G.
Mar 09, 2016 R.G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t help that sometimes I like these sort of books because it’s just all about the adventure. A simple and fun adventure of a girl who wants to know what’s beyond the walls, and is clever enough to figure out how to escape. My one problem with the book is that everyone talks about how much Warvold meant to everyone, and Alexa loved him and was close to him, and yet there was no real grieving from anyone. I understand that might have been a bit too serious for this book and that’s why Carman ...more
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I have been a lifelong writer and storyteller. Salem, Oregon is where I spent my formative years and I graduated from Willamette University. After college, I spent a decade living in Portland, Oregon where I worked in advertising, game design, and technology.

I've written young adult and children's books for Scholastic, Little Brown Books For Young Readers and Katherine Tegen Books/ HarperCollins P
...more
More about Patrick Carman...

Other Books in the Series

The Land of Elyon (4 books)
  • Beyond the Valley of Thorns (The Land of Elyon, #2)
  • The Tenth City (The Land of Elyon, #3)
  • Stargazer (The Land of Elyon #4)

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“If bringing down the wall would require you to fly, you must believe you can fly. Otherwise, when the decisive moment comes, you will surely discover you ahve no wings.” 53 likes
“The size of your body is just right. The only question is whether you're big enough inside.” 43 likes
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