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The Floating Island (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,886 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
Long ago, in the Second Age of history, a young Nain explorer by the name of Ven Polypheme traveled much of the known and unknown world, recording his adventures. Recently discovered by archaeologists, a few fragments of his original journals are reproduced in this book. Great care has been taken to reconstruct the parts of the journal that did not survive, so that a whole
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by Starscape
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One of my favorite fantasy authors is Elizabeth Haydon, so when I saw she'd written a YA book (indeed the first in a series) I snapped it up. This book had a little bit of everything: adventure, fire pirates, travel, mystery. It was also a nice start to a series, because as it stands, the book itself is complete, without cliffhangers or loose ends, but with the promise of likable characters and lots of future adventures and puzzles.

The telling of the story might annoy some, as there is narrative
Alyssa Nelson
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is just downright fun. I picked it up because Elizabeth Haydon writes an AMAZING adult fantasy series (Symphony of Ages, if you want to look into that), and I wanted to see how her middle grade stands up against that. The answer I found: The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme might actually be better than Symphony of Ages.

The Floating Island centers around a 50-year-old “Nain” (literally french for dwarf — very cool wordplay there) named Ven, who is just reaching his majority by his race’s
Anne Hamilton
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, fantasy
The Floating Island – the Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme
Initially, this slow–starting story felt like a variation on a Victorian gothic machine fantasy (no, not steampunk!), except for being set in the world of Vaarn and Serendair. Somewhere along the way however, the story tilted out of the twilight into something quite different: light and dark, charm and strange.

Ven Polypheme is a fifty-year old Nain, a child by the standards of his dwarf-like race and the son of a master shipbuilder. His bro
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book and I finished it way to fast(as allways) but any hoot is a bout this boy named Ven who catches this feather and bang! Boom! Clash! All of the suden his family thinks he's dead and he's saved by a mero (mermaid) and ends up on a ship where he summuns this moving island that has living water on it, who is given to the captens wife. And then for no reason he's thown in jail and some how becomes the royal reporter for the king. And bla bla. oh did I mention that the inn he stay ...more
Carol Moran
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I agree totally with Anne Hamilton's review of this book. I enjoyed it so much that I completed the 3 book set and was equally satisfied with each story. If there is a 4th, which is hinted at, I will read it as well. My only disappointment is in the cover art. I wish the cameo was the main focus and the dragon the cameo. This applies to each, The Thief Queens Daughter and The Dragon's Lair. The change would be a better representation of the content.
Made it to page 111 and then gave up. Just couldn't get into it
Kat Heckenbach
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I debated about marking this story down to a 3.5. There were some flaws--bits of plot that didn't feel completely woven in, but I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt and assuming there is more to the story that will be revealed in the next book or books. There were a few cheesy moments in the story, too, but they were pretty few and far between.

Overall, I thought the premise of the story was pretty original. The characters were likable and well-developed. I liked how the author highlig
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Don't care who you are. This book is really, really good.

After being SUPER sick and disgusted with fantasy novels for a few months, simply because so many of them take so much effort to get into and understand and I was tired of it, I picked this up and was waltzed right into a swashbuckling, Narnia/Star Wars (but it's not sci-fi)/The Hobbit-esque tale that didn't try to be anything than what it was. Very refreshing.

Writing wise there were a few sentences I would have edited but hey, nobody's p
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Unfortunately, this book (and the rest of the series that follows it) is rather unknown to the world. I, however, think that it's a great read that is suitable for all ages. I highly recommend this book to any lover of fantasy, a dash of world-building, and unraveling mysteries. I love this book.
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
OK people from what I remember from this book they didn't even metion a dragon,well expect from something about a place but I might be remembering that from a different book.So generally there's NO DRAGON.
Jennifer Bowen
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Elisia Hopkins
I liked this one. The description and characters were interesting. There were a few times when the pacing of the book lagged a little but it was very enjoyable to read
David Hibberd
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, juvenile
The Floating Island follows the adventures of Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme a Nain (dwarf) who is different from other Nains. He is taller, more human sized. He does not fear water and has a great curiosity.

On his 50th birthday young Ven is chosen to make the inspection run on the most recent ship his family has built. Compared to humans, Ven is probably the equivalent of a young, teenage human.

His maiden voyage sends him on a journey where he encounters Fire Pirates, meets a merrow (mermaid),
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Floating Island is an incredible adventure detailing the beginning of Ven Polypheme's story. Elizabeth Haydon's incredibly descriptive storytelling ability creates a very detailed picture of the events as they occurs and though sometimes it can get tedious, the monotony is always broken by plot twists and spontaneous action events. Midway through the book I was getting bored, however Haydon's conclusion to the novel was an incredible conclusion that ranks with some of the best novels I've ev ...more
Timothy Pitkin
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
This was a great story and it does avoid a lot of the problems many fantasy stories which is that many of them try to create their own vocabulary which usually just drags the story down but this book avoid that by either doing what other great fantasy stories do and borrow from real life mythology or quickly defining the new vocab in the story. The only real problem I have is that the book is written in the point of view of the future self of the main character as their are various journal entri ...more
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
At first I was apprehensive to read The Floating Island but my sister finally convinced me and I'm glad I gave this book a try because I loved it.
Ven Polypheme is the son of a shipbuilder. Once a new ship is built one of the Polypheme brothers has to inspect it. On Ven's 50th birthday, an new ship is ready for inspection, the brothers draw straws and Ven ends up with the shortest meaning he has to inspect it. All of his brothers, like the rest of their kind, Nains, hate water but Ven is an excep
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Though this book was creative and parts of it were interesting, it just went on far too long. This could have been half the length and just as magical, and with better pacing to boot. The original aspect of the story was the interspersed first-person snippets in otherwise third-person narration. This was effective to convey the theme of storytelling that is present in the book. However, continuing the "this is a real thing" theme outside the story (in the acknowledgements and bio) were just conf ...more
Caroline Harbour
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a fun fantasy novel, but didn't pique my interest enough to pick up the sequel. Suited well to younger readers.
Maia Erbes
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book! From pirates to royalty to mermaids to ghosts, this is a wonderful story of adventure and curiosity, can't wait to read the sequel.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ...more
May 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
The book was good with an awesome story and a nice twist.
It's just that, for me, small details annoyed me through out the book.
The dragon in the front cover.... Why?... there's NO dragon through out the book. Only in words that, "There are dragons under sea".
Races weren't really introduced in depth in the book except for merrow and to the end of the book I was left with more questions on Nain which is the race of the main character, Ven. Everyone somehow seemed to know he was young but he was ta
Amy Bradley
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
The first book of The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme is a delightful tale. A fantasy set in another world, Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme (Ven for short) is the youngest of his family of shipbuilding Nain (somewhat analogous to dwarves). On his fiftieth birthday (for the Nain are a long-lived race, and fifty is approximately young teenage human) Ven draws the short straw and must inspect a newly built ship on a short voyage before it can be christened and handed over to its owner. On said voyage, ...more
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
In the first of (so far) three books in a series titled "The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme," we become acquainted with an unusual member of the dwarf-like race of the Nain. Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme is the youngest son of a family of shipwrights. Each of his older brothers has a respectable beard and the mastery of one specialized area of the ship-building business, from boiling pitch to forging iron. The whole family is unusual compared to most Nain, who prefer to live underground, digging ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-readers
If you like Tolkein-like fantasy with a seaboard twist, this might be the series for you.

Personally, I'm still struggling with the decision to move on to the second book. My hope is that, now that all that appear to be the main cast have their foothold, that future plots will progress more swiftly. My biggest complaint is that the story moved too slowly. While character development is important and I'm a fan of internal monologue, it made the story drag on unnecessarily. Facts and worries were
Aug 22, 2007 rated it liked it
OK, kind of long-winded. This epic fantasy was not as captivating as I thought it would be. There was lots of action, but the whole "journal" thing was more annoying than anything. I read it because it had good reviews-even a star from Booklist...

SLJ Review
Ven Polypheme, a young Nain explorer, traveled much of the known and unknown world. Recently discovered fragments of his journal are the inspiration for this exciting and imaginative tale. Ven, a short, hobbitlike fellow, is celebrating his 50
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
The thing that most upset me about The Floating Island was that there’s a dragon on the cover of the book, but there’s no dragon in the book. Publishers, you can’t taunt me with a dragon and then not give me a dragon! Why would you do such a cruel thing? On the same note, don’t taunt me with Brett Helquist illustrations and then only give me one single picture!

More seriously, The Floating Island is pretty good. It’s much more horror/mystery than it is straight fantasy, and some parts of it actua
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ven Polypheme, the youngest son of a family of shipbuilders, is unusual even among his family. For one, he's a Nain thirsting for adventure, when the rest of his brothers compete for the honor of staying home during the final Inspection of their ships. On Ven's first Inspection, however, things go horribly wrong. On the other side of the world, locked in a dungeon, Ven writes his story in the hope that the king will be merciful.

From the first sentences, the plot starts strong and never lets up.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ven Polypheme at 50 and beardless is the youngest among his 13 siblings. His family is of the Nain race, and is famous for shipbuilding. All Ven's brothers and his 1 sister have jobs at which they excel by virtue of their unique talents and interests, but Ven feels a bit like he doesn't belong. On his 50th birthday, he draws the short straw and must take the newest ship out for inspection. He's excited about this since he - unlike his brothers - is not afraid of the water. All seems to be in ord ...more
J. Else
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this book. It was a rich world that left alot to mystery. It does not throw the world in your face but introduces you to more aspects of it in each chapter. You never find yourself lost or confused in the world. The focus stays on the main character and his motivations, but the background characters are prominent enough that you do not forget them when mentioned later. I liked the mystical quality. The storyline did not rely on fantastical events or deux ex machinas to wrap i ...more
Oct 01, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked this magical coming-of-age story more than I had expected, though I found the faux-journal thing pretty annoying. The author purportedly is filling in the story between fragments of Ven Polypheme’s lost journals; however, it really seems that Haydon wanted to have some first-person comments in a third-person narrative, and so used this device. Anyway, Ven lives in a world where several different non-human, magical races coexist with humans. He is a 50-year-old boy, the youngest son in a ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 5 and up
Ven Polypheme is a Nain, a race who more frequently lives below ground. But Ven's father is a shipbuilder and Ven is the youngest son of a line of shipbuilders. Each of Ven's brothers has a specialty in the business, but Ven has never developed a particular talent. Now at age 50, he is coming into adolescence for the Nain, but he still has not developed the characteristic beard of his people.

Unlike his brothers, however, he does take a trip over the water. Not a trip he chose to go on, but his
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book a whole lot, and was glad to see a sequel. The plot evolves slowly and organically, so I don't want to give away anything that happens too far into it.

Ven is from a race that lives underground. They do not feel comfortable unless their feet are in the dirt. His Grandfather, though, decided to be different, although they called him mad, and started his own ship building business. Ven works in this same business, and his life is changed forever when he draws the short straw that
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Elizabeth Haydon (* 1965 in Michigan) is a fantasy author, whose 1999 debut, Rhapsody: Child of Blood, garnered comparisons with Goodkind, Jordan, and even Tolkien. She has written two fantasy series set within the same universe, The fantasy/romance/whodunit fusion called The Symphony of Ages and the young adult series The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.

An herbalist, harpist, and madrigal singer,
More about Elizabeth Haydon...

Other Books in the Series

The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme (4 books)
  • The Thief Queen's Daughter (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, #2)
  • The Dragon's Lair (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, #3)
  • The Tree of Water (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, #4)

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“Tell people the hammered truth, and it will ring like steel against an anvil.” 26 likes
“We each have our belssings and our curses. In the end it makes us equals.” 11 likes
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