Sharon L Norris's Reviews > Neptunia

Neptunia by Goldie Alexander
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it was amazing
bookshelves: children-s-books

With our world becoming increasingly fractured in many ways - in the human hemisphere as much as the global environmental hemisphere - the theme of ‘resilience’ is increasingly popular in books for all ages. Goldie Alexander’s novel for upper primary readers, ‘Neptunia’, is no exception.

When her home life falls apart after the separation of her parents, up and coming competitive swimmer Cassie Odysseos is sent far away to a small country town, Ithaca, with her younger brother Timmy. Away from her family, her friends, her future at Norris Park College, and her beloved swimming pool, Cassie struggles to cope as kindly relatives Peg and Mike Calypso offer her and Timmy a home until their mother can get her life together.

The separation is particularly hard on three-year-old Timmy, who acts out his frustration and despair. Forced to go for a walk together after one bad behaviour episode, Timmy and Cassie find a rare box in an empty silo on a farm nearby. Cassie learns the box belongs to a mysterious elderly lady, Iris Laerte, who swam at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and now lives on the property ‘Neptunia'. She returns the box to Miss Laerte who shares with her the secret of the rhyme engraved on the box and encourages Cassie to become the new special envoy to the magical underwater land of Neptunia – a place that can only be reached by a swimmer with a strong heart, strategic mind and plenty of spirit. Cassie’s mission is to deliver a special message to the Mer-King, Neptune.

When Cassie recites the magical rhyme on the box she is swept into the adventure of a lifetime that takes her on a journey of epic proportions. Here she is forced to face the challenges set for her by the angry Mer-King, who blames Cassie for the abuses of the sea committed by all humankind. Along the way she is helped by the friendly and wise turtle, Athena and the boisterous seal Jono.

As Goldie Alexander explains at the end of the book, ‘Neptunia' is loosely based on the Greek poet Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’, which chronicles the hero Ulysses’ adventures at sea. Just as Ulysses (also known as Odysseos) has to fight demons and overcome severe obstacles put in his way by the Mer-King, Cassie does the same in ‘Neptunia’. Throughout this dangerous quest, Cassie uses strength, strategy and spirit to deal with the obstacles in her path. As she fights for her life to complete the quest, she uses these same tools to accept and deal with the multitude of other difficulties in her own life.

‘Neptunia’ has an action-packed plot and strong characterisation, and gives an intriguing insight into ancient history, legend and mythology. Above all, it shows that through resilience of mind, body and spirit, much can be achieved.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 29, 2014 – Finished Reading
March 30, 2014 – Shelved
March 30, 2014 – Shelved as: children-s-books

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