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The Dark Hills Divide

(The Land of Elyon #1)

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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  20,788 ratings  ·  936 reviews
The Dark Hills Divide introduces readers to Alexa Daley, who annually visits the town of Bridewell. Alexa is curious about what lies beyond the massive ramparts that surround the city and the walled roads that link Bridewell to nearby towns; soon after town leader Thomas Warvold passes away, Alexa finds herself outside the walls, acquires a stone with remarkable powers, an ...more
Hardcover, First Scholastic Edition, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Scholastic (first published August 2003)
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ketutar Jensen It is a chapter book, not illustrated version. The cover art (and the couple of illustrations in the book) are by Brad Weinman.
And it's not a spoiler …more
It is a chapter book, not illustrated version. The cover art (and the couple of illustrations in the book) are by Brad Weinman.
And it's not a spoiler question.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  20,788 ratings  ·  936 reviews


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Sarah
The "Land of Elyon" in the series title is a small nation of fearful settlements, surrounded by a wall. Of the settlements, Bridewell is the closest to the Dark Hills outside the wall, which the settlers speculate are full of criminals and monsters. Precocious twelve-year-old Alexa Daley is the daughter of the mayor of another settlement. Every summer her father goes to Bridewell to consult with the other mayors, and she tags along to scrounge the library for information on the outside world.

Whe
...more
Ann
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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
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
Amy Layton
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this series when I was much younger and thought that I may as well give it another go!  Usually with series--especially fantasy series--there's a scene or two that really sticks out to me and makes me want to reread it, to see if it still holds up.  The scene I remembered was the imprisonment Pervis, the city's chief of police--he's frequently drunk, and upon his imprisonment he has a nasty hangover involving a bucket and a couple pauses to vomit.  As a kid who hated vomit more than anyth ...more
Jerome
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Kit
May 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Deborah O'Carroll
Re-read January 2017

The Bridewell library though. <3
...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
Stargazer R. L.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adventure loving girls of about twelve
This book is:
-My childhood
-An intriguing adventure
-Really fun to read or listen to
-Quietly suspenseful
-A unique story which I challenge any girl between 10 and 14 to dislike. I just don't think it's gonna happen.

Things I love about it:
-The unique world with its dusty roads, cool streams, forests, hot summer sun, and its medieval feel but with spyglasses and a dash of gunpowder
-The talking animals
-The library with it's rows and rows of shelves and the cozy nook by the window
-All the food
-The exci
...more
☆☆Hannah☆☆
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I had read this book for the first time exactly 7 years ago. I still like it but now that I'm older it wasn't as good. I know that my tastes have changed. However, it was a very quick and enjoyable read. Alexa is here with her father. He is a leader of this town and is here for some meetings. Pervis is a real jerk and tries to make this hard for her while she is here. Her father ends up having to go somewhere else and that's when the story gets really interesting. We have to now figure out who w ...more
Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25

Squirrels and Wolves and Bears, oh my.

What an enjoyable book! Lite kid's fantasy.

12 year old heroine? Check
Lovable animals? Check
Questionable adults? Check
Adventure sans adults? Check

Heroine saving the day? Nope sorry you have to read to find out.
Dimitra
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-buddies
I still remember the moment I saw this book...
The cover caught my attention and felt like a great story to read. To be honest, I got all first three books at a book bazaar, just because of the cover!
Now, I've read the first book and I am beyond happy for my choice!!!
It's a bit middle-grade-ish but still, a great adventure of a little girl who never stops dreaming and living her life no matter what! She is an amazing character! Even though the book is written by a male author, the main character
...more
Bix
May 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
D.M. Dutcher
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: weird, fantasy
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
Shivantika
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't understand what was going on most of the time, but I gave it two stars for the interesting chess match, and Alexa wasn't that bad of a character.
Jessie
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’ve wanted to read this book since I first came upon it, however I didn’t feel the story lived up to the beautiful cover.

The main character is Alexa, who at 12 years old stands a little over 4 feet tall and longs to discover what is beyond the walls surrounding her town. Using clues left behind for her, Alexa discovers tunnels into the wilderness and befriends animals who reveal a plot to destroy her home.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that it was an information overload, withou
...more
Rebecca Carvalho
Feb 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I don't even know where to begin... I didn't like the book. I actually gave up on finishing it a few times, but I'd read so much of it already that it didn't feel right to just abandon the story. I picked it up again last week, and today I finally finished it.

You know, I'm actually a little disappointed, because Patrick Carman's writing (when it comes down to describing nature and architecture) is really good and vivid, but the plot and character development were a huge mess.

Some of the reasons
...more
Veronica
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Arwen
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sierrah O
Oct 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Joey
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Perfect little fantasy adventure. Plus it has a talking squirrel. Easy 5 star.
Liana
This was an odd little book... But charming nonetheless. It didn't always make sense, but gee... There's something magical about the world that pulls me in!
Erica
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was another one that I read for a book club I'm in. I wanted to like it, because fantasy is one of my favorites and I usually find middle-grade books really fun and charming. However, it was so hard to read. It never pulled me in and the writing felt really... amateur? I just never found myself compelled to pick up the book and see what happened next.

Another issue I had with this book was that the character jumped to so many conclusions and I always felt one step behind. There were a couple
...more
Twyla
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erica Locke
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was just okay, in my opinion. I'm not saying that the story is bad or anything. I just really didn't connect to the characters or anything. So, I won't be continuing the series.
Jess
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jess by: 6th grade girl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janeen-san
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Elevetha
Alexa Daley, smart and tiny, the daughter of a mayor. She loves her yearly trips with her father to Bridewell, where he takes care of political and such matters and she tries to find a way outside the 80-feet walls that surround Bridewell and the other cities. The wall separates the wild untamed wilderness from the civilized cities and towns. Spyglasses are banned from the town. People treat curiosity towards the outside world as dangerous and harmful. When a series of events leads Alexa undergr ...more
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1,495 followers
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
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Other books in the series

The Land of Elyon (5 books)
  • Into the Mist (The Land of Elyon, #0.5)
  • 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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