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The Floating Islands

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,336 ratings  ·  222 reviews
When Trei loses his family in a tragic disaster, he must search out distant relatives in a new land. The Floating Islands are unlike anything Trei has ever seen: stunning, majestic, and graced with kajurai, men who soar the skies with wings.

Trei is instantly sky-mad, and desperate to be a kajurai himself. The only one who fully understands his passion is Araene, his newfou
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steph Su
It’s no secret how much I love a good well-written high fantasy, one replete with intricate societal customs, political upheavel, and, of course, magic. So I was delighted when THE FLOATING ISLANDS was exactly what I wanted: a captivating and gorgeously written fantasy world.

I don’t think I have the words to describe why I loved Rachel Neumeier’s writing style so much. It’s not “purple prose-y” in that poetic, whimsical, or heartachingly beautiful way that I like in other books; instead, it’s li
Erica (daydreamer)
The Floating Islands is a beautiful, intriguing novel. It swept me away with its magic. This book is lyrical and delicious, soaring with the many layered, tangible winds, and garnished with the flavors of magic, all interwoven into a tale of war, acceptance, finding your destiny, and friendship.

Trei has just lost his home and his family in a tragic volcanic eruption, destroying everything’s he’s known. Rejected by his Tolounn relatives, he sets out to the Floating Islands in hopes that his mothe
Ah, here's a quality gem. It's so underrated and outside of the known book blogging presence it's quite a shame, really. Many more people should know about these lovely books.

It's got:

Floating islands! Obvious by the title but come on! Isn't awesome!?

Magic! You guys know you love magic.

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And dragons! I mean, dragons! That's like an instant win! Hello! If that doesn't get you excited than I don't know what will. You clearly are not a fantasy fan. Lmao. (I joke... Or do I?)

But anyway,
Lots of pros and cons to this one. I'm giving it four stars but don't see myself booktalking it. It will appeal only to specific readers, but it will appeal to them very much.

On the pro side: Some wonderful, creative world-building and it's a fantasy world that's not based on Northern Europe. It has a Middle Eastern or South Asian flair to it. The way magic works is intriguing, especially the way doors open for the mages where they need to go. The writing is beautiful, especially the description
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

Jessie's Reasons Why *You* Should Read The Floating Islands:

~ magic!
(Of the two novels by this author that I have read so far, she takes pains to create unique, if somewhat similar, systems of magic for her fantasy worlds.)

~ magic dragons - some of wind and some of fire!
(And both kinds are key to the plot of the story AND the backstory of both the main characters Trei and Araenè. Their respective connections to my favorite mythical beast added to th
I picked up The Floating Islands because I was taken in by the magical world on its cover. It turned out to be very representative of the story, as the world is the real strength of the book.

Trei has just arrived at the Floating Islands after his family is killed in a volcanic eruption. He goes to live with his aunt and uncle and his cousin Araenè. He is completely in awe of the islands, and from the moment he sees the island’s kajuraihi (men who fly), he is determined to become one.

Coming from
Maureen E
Opening: "Trei was fourteen the first time he saw the Floating Islands. He had made the whole long voyage south from Rounn in a haze of loss and misery, not really noticing the harbors in which the ship sometimes anchored or the sea between. But here, where both sea and sky lay pearl-gray in the dawn, the wonder of the Floating Islands broke at last into that haze."

In general, I'm a fan of fantasies with some sort of political component--the Queen's Thief series (obviously), Leah Cypress's Mistw
Definitely my favorite Neumeier book to date. I love her balance of adventure, politics, and magic, with just a dash of romance. It's so easy to fall into this world of floating islands, and flying boys, and dragons. Hopefully I get a full review written, but either way, highly recommended.
J.D. Field
I completely loved this book. One of the best I've read for months. The world creation is breathtaking in its scope and originality.
I read this book in part because the cover is so eyecatching and in part because of my last vacation when I discovered some
MAGIC ISLANDS of my own...
But even if you didn't have a bit of an island obsession I think you'd love this. Trei is orphaned (and this is complex and beautifully dealt with) and goes to the Floating Islands to stay with his mothers family. The w
I have a three-pronged reaction to seeing The Floating Islands on my shelf.
(1) A sigh of contentment because just look at that cover! It's gorgeous and oh-so fitting for the story within.
(2) A goofy smile because my copy is signed! Also: I think this is the only signed book I own, so a double goofy grin. (If those even exist...)
(3) A large pool of guilt because, no matter how much I try, I simply cannot seem to sit down and write a review for this book.
I've sort of promised myself that I
Michelle Isenhoff
I found this book on a library list of notable middle grade books for 2011, and I loved the cover, so I picked it up. I’m glad I did. It turned out to be one of my favorite adventures of this year.

The book opens with Trei on his way to the Floating Islands. His family has recently been buried in a volcanic eruption and his kin in Tolounn, the country of his birth, have turned him away. So he’s searching out his mother’s brother in the Islands where she was raised. As he draws near, he catches si
The Floating Islands was an okay read. I would have rather given it 3.5 stars instead of just 3.

1) At times it dragged on. The fantasy elements are lovely and I don't mind a bit of heavier description in my fantasies. It was done a bit too much now and then in this book, causing the action of the story to not really occur until about halfway.

2) Alright characters. I didn't feel a strong connection to the characters, and instead felt like they could have had more `oomph' to who they were. I did e
Jan 11, 2011 Christie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Christie by: Star Book Tours
Shelves: read-in-2011
Trei travels to The Floating Islands to find his mother’s family after his parents and sister are killed. He is immediately captivated by the kajurai who soar in the skies above The Floating Islands. Trei vows to become one. Grief-stricken and submerged in a world so different from where he was raised, he finds an unlikely friend and supporter in his cousin Araene. Araene has her own set of secret aspirations, and seems to feel a sense of relief that her cousin can be trusted. When tragedy strik ...more
Emy Shin
When Trei comes to the Floating Islands to live with his relatives, one of the first things he sees is the kajurai, men with wings who speed through the skies. From that moment on, Trei knows that he must become a kujarai at all costs.

Trei's cousin, Araene, is a girl with a big dream confined to a society where women are neither allowed freedoms nor occupations. Having a talent with cooking and baking, Araene often disguises herself as a boy to take cooking classes -- dreaming of a day when she
Not as great as I'd expected it to be. Great ideas, but I don't think the author really captured them as well as she could have. I didn't find Trei's story to be very interesting... I mean, I like the whole concept of flying with the kajurai, but there were too many characters to keep track off and I could barely tell what was going on! O_o
I really liked Aranae's story though... I like when girls dress up as guys to do what they believe in. (I realize now that sounds a little creepy with the way
I like this better than my rating indicates; it's a lyrical fantasy that somehow handles war almost gently, and has alternating points of view that I both enjoyed. (I got myself through writing peer reviews for work -- a dreadful task indeed -- by rewarding myself with two chapters for each peer review. It wasn't fair to stop at just one chapter, you see.)

The beginning's a bit slow, but Trei comes to the Floating Islands, exactly what they sound like, uplifted by dragon magic. He's an orphan and
I haven't read a book this good in a long time. It was adventurous and exciting, and the characters were very well-developed and likeable. The world was so beautifully described that I was easily lost in the story. I never got bored with the plot and I actually didn't mind the switches in point-of-view (which usually annoys me). The ending was wonderful and I was very happy with the book as a whole. The only complaint that I have is that the names were somewhat hard to pronounce (even in my head ...more
I liked the idea of this story, but events felt rushed throughout the entire book. I felt like I couldn't really relate to the characters because the character development lacked richness.

It took me quite a few pages to even get a feel for the world of this book due to all the names of places and people the author threw at me. A little less time with naming things and a little more time spent developing the scenery and characters would have been fantastic.

A couple things didn't make sense from
For some time, I was putting off this book, for fear of not liking it. Seeing it on BookOutlet made me get this immediately. After reading this, overall, this book was...meh.

What I liked the most is Neumeier's writing. It was so fantastical and poetic; filled with imagery and I could imagine what the setting looked like and the characters. The fantasy itself was very interesting, as well as its mythology, dealing with dragons and magic. Just the writing alone is 5 stars.

However, as the story pro
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here.

The Floating Islands is the story of both Trei and Araene, told in third person limited, going back and forth between them with each chapter. Both Trei and Araene are strong protagonists and each is in a position that raises interesting questions and problems. Through Trei we are told the story of a boy of mixed nationality, not completely one or the other, never truly belonging. His story is about loyalty and the struggle of continuously feeling the need to prove oneself.
Hibah Hassan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I wish I had better things to say about The Floating Islands, but I don't. Chapter 1 dumps the Reader right in the middle of the story, waiting until Chapter 3 to explain anything at all. Good luck trying to figure out which country is which, or who is who. The names of places and people are just thrown at you, and to make them more confusing, they almost all have an "ei" or "ai" ending, and there is no pronunciation guide in the back. So you'll spend over half your time slurring through everyon ...more
After a freak volcanic eruption kills his entire family, Trei must leave his homeland to go and live with his aunt and uncle on the floating island called Milendri. "Floating Island" is not a redundant term - the islands actually float high in the sky, kept aloft by the magic of the sky dragons and guarded by the kajuraihi, the men who wear wings and fly. When Trei sees one of these men on his journey to Milendri, he is immediately entranced and swears to himself that he will become one.
Trei is
Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers:

Trei was fourteen the first time he saw the Floating Islands. He had made the whole long voyage south from Rounn in a haze of loss and misery, not really noticing the harbors in which the ship sometimes anchored or the sea between. But here, where both sea and sky lay pearl-gray in the dawn, the wonder of the Floating Islands broke at last into that haze.

After losing his mother, father and elder sister in the de
This book was one of those gems that you pick up because of the amazing cover art and take it home. But i must admit, was a bit of a letdown. I love the idea behind the story, basically; A boy named Trei has traveled to find his cousins home after his family died. His cousins live on chain of floating islands, suspended in the air through dragon magic. Independent of the empire, there are a variety of magical beings on the islands including mages and a a race of people called the kajurai; people ...more
As many people have noticed, this book has a beautiful cover, which hints at lovely treasures inside; however, the contents don’t quite live up to the cover art. Trei, an orphan from the northern part of the mainland, travels to the floating islands to live with his uncle, aunt, and cousin Araene. He quickly becomes and Islander in thought and deed, and realizes his dream of joining the men who help protect the island by flying with dragon magic. When the Islands are invaded by the power-hungry ...more
Incredibly fun, brand new fantasy. Trei has come to The Floating Islands (pretty much what they sound like) after his family is killed in a tragic volcano accident. Once there, he discovers a group of flyers called the kajurai who are trained to swoop around the islands delivering messages and protecting it from harm. Trei would do anything to join them and his cousin Araene would likewise do anything to become a professional chef. The problem? On these islands girls have very few options. With ...more
I wish I read the reviews of this book before I bought it. Most of the reviews were "rated highly", so it probably wouldn't have helped. As I was reading this book; I looked at the synopsis on the back and I though to myself I shouldn't have bought this one. I will admit I was completely entranced by the cover. It is simply sublime, ethereal and lovely. The first time I read the back I thought, "this book really sounds great". Sadly, it is not.
The characters were completely uninteresting, under
Two cousins are cast together when Trei's family is killed and he seeks refuge with his Islander relatives, who live on the Floating Islands, great landforms that float on the magic winds of the sky dragons. He longs be one of the amazing kajuraihi, or men who don wings and fly. Araene sneaks out regularly dressed as a boy to attend lectures and wander the city, but her secret dream is to become a chef. And then one day, still dressed as a boy, she finds herself in a secret school and invited to ...more
Rating: 6/10

When I first started the book, I was blown away and thoroughly engrossed. Then things slowed about two thirds of the way through. Our main character comes to the floating islands in the beginning of the book because of the deaths of his entire immediate family. About the two third mark, the are a couple more deaths that stretched the limits of my credulity, and made believe this was the author's solution to making the plot easier to write. Never a good sign. Also, there is a fantasti
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Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.

She n
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“Some men are not capable of learning anything that does not agree with their own opinions.” 13 likes
“When we endure loss, the past reaches out to grip us from behind, but it's not wrong to turn your face forward.” 10 likes
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