I was approached recently to be a part of Emily Raabe's blog tour for her debut middle grade fantasy novel, Lost Children of the Far Islands, I though...moreI was approached recently to be a part of Emily Raabe's blog tour for her debut middle grade fantasy novel, Lost Children of the Far Islands, I thought I'd like to be a part of the tour, especially after learning what Emily and her husband are doing. From Boulder, CO to Burlington, VT, they are going on a road trip to visit local, independent bookstores and blogging about their adventures. Isn't that a cool idea? I hadn't heard of her book before, so I'm also always looking for new authors to discover as well, so for me, this was a win-win situation; I get to read a new author, and support her in an amazing adventure!
It turns out that Lost Children of the Far Islands is actually a charming book! It follows the adventures of twins Gus & Leo and their younger sister, Ila, who are whisked off to a remote island off the coast of Maine when their mother falls mysteriously ill. On the island, under the guidance of their grandmother, the Morai, the discover that they are actually descendents of the Folk, magical creatures who can change from human form to that of an animal. It also comes to light that their mother is ill because she's been trying to protect them from the Dobhar-chu, the King of the Black Lakes, who will do anything to break free of his prison (where the Morai has been keeping him in check), and return to power.
Steeped in actual mythological lore, Raabe's book is plenty full of magic and adventure, but it's also full of well-polished characters. We get to see the first hand impressions of the children as they begin to become acquainted with their animal forms, and it's clear that Raabe put a lot of research into the marine life that she presents in her story. The kids themselves also act their various ages, and I liked the quirky tightness of their family. Personally, I think this is a great book for kids and highly recommend it for young readers!(less)
I tried very, very hard to like this book. Really, I did. It seemed like it should be something that I would like, but the more I read, the less I li...more I tried very, very hard to like this book. Really, I did. It seemed like it should be something that I would like, but the more I read, the less I liked the book. Maybe the prose was just a little too purple for my liking? Maybe the book was just a little too "new adult" for my liking? To be honest, I haven't read much in the "new adult" genre (or however it's called - personally, I'm not even entirely sold on idea of "new adult" being a thing), but I have to think that possibly this is a publishing trend that I'm going to be able to skip.
The story revolves around Finn, who with her father has moved to a small town in upstate New York to attend an art school after her sister's suicide. As she beings to settle in and find her place amongst the eccentrics of the town, Finn finds herself a small group of friends, and finds herself attracted to the mysterious Jack Fata, a member of the richest family in the small town. It would seem that Jack and his family have some ties to the Fae, and that Jack has an infatuation for Finn, but somewhere along this plot thread, I totally lost any momentum in the story. Everything was becoming too muddled in atmospheric situations and random encounters.
I have no doubt that the book will end up doing well. I can tell that for the right crowd, this book is going to be very popular, but it just wasn't working for me. I wouldn't even go so far as to not recommend it to people. The writing is solid, and Harbour clearly has an idea where her story is going. For the right reader, this book will be fantastic.(less)