Emy Shin's Reviews > The Floating Islands

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
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's review
Feb 03, 2011

bookshelves: 2011-read, fantasy, young-adult

When Trei comes to the Floating Islands to live with his relatives, one of the first things he sees is the kajurai, men with wings who speed through the skies. From that moment on, Trei knows that he must become a kujarai at all costs.

Trei's cousin, Araene, is a girl with a big dream confined to a society where women are neither allowed freedoms nor occupations. Having a talent with cooking and baking, Araene often disguises herself as a boy to take cooking classes -- dreaming of a day when she can use her gifts in an official capacity.

I admit I decided to read THE FLOATING ISLANDS because of its gorgeous cover. Inside is a fun and enjoyable fantasy told from alternative points-of-view of Trei and Araene. Personally, I enjoyed Araene's narratives more than I did Trei, particularly because hers contained elements I love: gender disguises, a sarcastic voice, and a strong female lead. My favorite part is Araene's talent: cooking. In many YA novels I've read, "cooking" is often relegated to a feminine pursue, one that's just for fun. However, Araene, who has a gift for it, wants to pursue cooking professionally -- something she cannot do because of the patriarchal society she lives in. It's a fresh take on the subject.

While it took me a little while longer to warm up to Trei, I did like his story line as well -- and particularly enjoyed the interactions between Trei and Araene.

Recommended to fantasy readers.
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