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The Floating Island

(The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,093 ratings  ·  163 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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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  2,093 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
Middle grade books have a special place in my heart, but I’ll admit that it’s difficult to find titles that give me the same overall satisfaction as adult novels (for obvious reasons). So when one comes along with substance and depth, I geek out. Aside from Harry Potter, Fablehaven, and a handful of others, my list of MG favorites is a short one… and now Floating Island is among them!

Not that I’m terribly surprised. As a longtime fan of Haydon’s Symphony of Ages series, I’d hoped the quality of
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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. ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Hamilton
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, children
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
Made it to page 111 and then gave up. Just couldn't get into it ...more
Genesis Haruno Takahashi
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read in ages. The story was delightfully rich and fast paced, my face was buried inside its wonder-filled, mystical pages the whole way. Ven Polypheme leads this story as the partial author and hero of this tale. His wanderlust and hunger for knowledge become awfully infectious, I began to jump at the prospect of finding the answers to his questions. An incredible mystery/thriller was neatly woven into the story, I even found myself trembling at some parts as the feelings of fear ...more
Tameri Bushra
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Re-read this childhood favorite and found it has aged remarkably well. Good writing that feels like micro-dosing emotions and images. I owe much of my own formative personality traits to Ven Polypheme and others like him.
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
Hannah Belyea
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
While overlooking the latest ship his family built, Ven ends up attacked by pirates and taken in by a friendly crew that reveals the Floating Island to him - but when he is accused of a terrible crime, he will have to prove himself while figuring out who he can truly trust. Haydon will keep readers caught up in the fantastic lore with a fun realm and colourful cast to explore. Will Ven find his way home, or will he find a path leading him farther from those he loves?
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. ...more
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. ...more
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
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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‘Ware Spoilers!

The Floating Island is the epitome of why I find myself going back to MG fiction from time to time. The authors who write MG that I find know how to build a solid plot- they don’t try to push an envelope with fancy writing tricks or half baked plot twists like I find myself being confronted with YA fiction more often than not. And who knows, maybe I’ve just had a string of bad luck with YA. Period
David Hibberd
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, owned, 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
Actual Rating: 3.75 rounded up to 4 stars

This book had a fun setting and some neat characters. The mystery of the haunted inn was quite entertaining (which makes it weird that it's not mentioned in the synopsis at all). I'm also always a sucker for novels that include illustrations, especially when those illustrations are by the guy who worked on A Series of Unfortunate Events. My one complaint was the framing device of the novel. It seems like the whole book was supposed to be an account from t
Timothy Pitkin
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
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
Kerri Simpson
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Its a crazy adventure for Ven and his friends. He ends up shipwrecked when he runs into trouble with pirates. Rescued by a merrow his adventure is only begining. I loved the characters in the book. There were plenty of twist and turns. I can't wait to read the rest of this series and read more of their adventures. It was a good story! I loved it!, ...more
Myra Hill
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
While I can appreciate the imagination behind this book, it took me a quarter through the book to realize that... nothing was happening.

While it does seem to pick up quite later, the fact that it simply couldn't capture my attention or imagination after so long left me a bit sad.

I wouldn't recommend this, but try it for yourself if you like, don't just take my word.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun story, and a nice way to introduce younger readers to the wonderful universe Elizabeth Haydon created. I loved reading more about the island of Serendair. The story of the crossroads was well done. It seemed somewhat familiar, but I can't place what it reminded me of. ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I first read this book while waiting for a STAAR (TAKS?) test to end. I'm pretty sure I finished the whole book on that day, both because it was good and because some clown had dictated that we had to stay the full seven hours even if we finished the test in two.

Ten years later it still slaps
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
Caroline Harbour
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a fun fantasy novel, but didn't pique my interest enough to pick up the sequel. Suited well to younger readers. ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing series with great characters! I loved this series in middle school, and it still brings me joy rereading it. Ven will forever be one of my top ten favorite protagonists in a book series.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of my all time favourite novel, I like to open the the book every once in a while, just to recall the the good times I had reading it .
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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,

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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