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The Keeper of the Isis Light

(Isis #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,237 ratings  ·  103 reviews
It was her tenth birthday on Isis. By Earth years, she would be sixteen. But Olwen Pendennis had never been to Earth. She had been born on Isis. And since her parents' death, she had lived there alone, manning the Isis Light -- a "lighthouse" in space designed to aid ships, and to bring settlers from Earth. And now, on the day of her tenth year, the settlers are coming at ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1980)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,237 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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else fine
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 22, 2009 rated it liked it
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
[First book I read & reviewed in 2019]

A short but memorable read. Pretty good if you like older, somewhat predictable juvenile/YA sci-fi tales. First published c. 1980, THE KEEPER OF THE ISIS LIGHT is the first book in a trilogy, but it stands alone (pay heed, modern 'cliffhanger' authors!).

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.

Note: As at least one other GR reviewer has noted, this is one of those books where whoe
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Goldfield not permitted. The excellent cover that was on the edition I borrowed is not avl. here; too bad.)

Very good SF, especially given that it's directed at young teens & 'tweens, a decidedly under-served group. I kinda sorta saw where things were going, but it still surprised me in many ways. Thought-provoking and charming. I will continue to struggle (!) to find more by the author.
Sophie Guillas
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
I don't think this book was made for me. The romantic elements felt very true for being 16, but it just made me remember how unintentionally obnoxious 16 year olds can be. There were some decent twists but I just couldn't relate to any of the characters. ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this long before I joined Goodreads, along with a LOT of other science fiction. Someday, I will add more of the ones that I know I read. I won't be able to write full reviews though, as I have only vague recollections of most of them. I know that I liked this one, though. ...more
An Odd1
Jun 03, 2014 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 ...more
I read this book way back in the 1980s, as it was one of the few SF novels on the shelves of my secondary school library. I was a little trepidatious of re-reading it, as there is no guarantee that something you enjoyed as a kid will retain its appeal when you are an adult. Happily, I still thoroughly enjoyed it: it gives me the same sort of feeling of space exploration on alien worlds that I get from early Star Trek: TNG or The Forbidden Planet, although without any of the sinister undertones o ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read this for my English class in junior high. I remember being gripped by this character's reality and the ending had taken my breath away. This book has returned to my consciousness during confinement and wonder why we don't hear about this author any more... ...more
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
DO NOT READ THE BOOK SUMMARY ON THE DUST COVER! It essentially tells you the plot and the unsaid parts. That is, unless you do not want to read the very short 136 pages. I really enjoyed that Monica Hughes does not lay out every detail for you. That method is so very different than books written now, which seemingly feel the need to mention everything repeatedly, however unnecessary. Leave something to our imagination already! The main character, Olwen is likable, though naive. What I ended up l ...more
Aug 07, 2013 marked it as to-read
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. ...more
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember loving this book
Sara Why
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Olwen Pendennis and her Guardian are the only inhabitants of a planet 6 parsecs from the overpopulated Earth. The planet is called Isis, and Olwen is the keeper of the Light (space-aged lighthouse of sorts) located in the upper reaches on the surface of the planet.
On the day of her 10th birthday (16th on Earth) a transmission is received by Guardian informing them that the first human settlers are en route in a ship called the Pegasus Two. This news spins Olwen’s world out of control and sends h
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's ironic that we frequently think of YA books as stories that have to be "scaled down" in some ways, as if the way to prepare young adults for the world in front of them is by taking away things that are more "mature" ... leaving behind threads that often weave together a story that is better for the absence of explicit sex and violence that is the hallmark of many inadequate videogames. (I remember reading somewhere that if you had to use sex to sell something, you had nothing to sell. There ...more
E.H. Nolan
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn’t think I’d like this book. I thought it was written for teenage boys, and I’d be bored to tears by the alien planet setting. I was wrong. This is a fantastic book. Truly fantastic.

A sixteen-year-old girl, Olwen, has lived on an alien planet all her life; her parents were sent from Earth to explore an inhabitable planet, since Earth has been abused and needs to be evacuated. Olwen has been free, happy, and alone. She’s had an entire planet to herself, besides the man appointed as her guar
Elise Rogers
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Bethany Lawrence
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this random find. I was in high school during library time. I randomly found this on the shelf. I had to return the book and have been looking for it again as an adult. I finally found it! I hope to order it soon. Very interesting Science fiction about a young girl left along with a robot to care for her. This book got me hooked on science fiction and fantasy.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-reading
4/5 It's funny when you go back and reread a book you loved as a child, how familiar and new at the same time. I have fond memories of this book but I could only recall bits and pieces of the story. I don't know that I ever read the rest in the series, but I think I need to try to find them. ...more
Oct 09, 2017 added it
Still holds up! Enjoyed it more than I expected to. However, due to current events it was quite jarring to read the word Isis so casually. A little unsettling.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3.7
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book combined my love of sci-fi with my love of ancient history. A very intriguing read.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
One of my favorites as a kid. It might not be as good a story as I remember, but I'll always have a soft spot for this book. ...more
Sung Ju
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Different than what I was expecting.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a little predictable, but I definitely enjoyed the process of getting there. It was fun.
Sara Grimes
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marsha Valance
A lonely 16-year-old girl is rejected by planetary colonists due to her mutated appearance. Phoenix Award.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of early YA novels
Shelves: 2015, young-adult, sf
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: Ident
Jan 02, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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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

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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“The scent of cactus flower still lingered in the air, although it was many hours since she had thrown the golden flower into the incinerator. When she walked out onto the terrace, the scent became even more powerful and she realised that it was being wafted to her on the evening breeze from the eastern mountain. The whole upper slope, above the grassline, was a mass of blooming cactus.

She could no more rid Isis of the scent than she could rid herself of her feelings towards Mark - unless she made Guardian fire the whole mountainside and destroy the flowers. He would do it if she were to ask him. He would take away the memory of her love for Mark too, if she were to ask it of him.

She walked to the edge of the terrace and looked across the river valley. To do violence to the mountains and the creatures that lived there, just because she could not bear the scent of the cactus flower, would be hideously wrong. To do violence to her mind, so as to forget her unhappiness, would be equally wrong.”
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