Monday, April 3, 2017

Journey Across the Hidden Islands by Sarah Beth Durst

Standalone
352 p.
Publisher: Clarion Books
Published: 4/4/17
Source: From author for review

Blurb:
The traditional Emperor’s Journey is meant to be uneventful. But as the princesses Seika and Ji-Lin—twin sisters—travel to pay respects to their kingdom’s dragon guardian, unexpected monsters appear and tremors shake the earth. The Hidden Islands face unprecedented threats, and the old rituals are failing. With only their strength, ingenuity, and flying lion to rely on, can the sisters find a new way to keep their people safe?


My thoughts:

I don't read too many MG books, but when approached by the author to read this one I had no problems wanting to read it. First, the cover is stunning and second, I usually enjoy Sarah Beth Durst's work. This is a fun book, but also one that if you are an adult reading it, should keep the age of the characters in mind.

The story is about twin girls born hours apart. One is the heir and the other is to be her protector. Both seem suited to their roles and are loyal to their subjects but miss each other terribly. The girls are called upon to do a traditional journey which will ensure the kingdom to be safe for another generation. At 12, neither feels ready but is willing to do what is needed to be done for the sake of their people. Their father is aloof to the girls and his concern seems limited to the kingdom and the girls struggle to understand. They still want to be honorable and make their father proud so they partake on the journey which brings insight, maturity, and hard choices. It is a true hero's journey which they are all aware. If this isn't enough to make you curious, you have a winged lion, Alejan, who steals the show often. He is their perfect companion and comic relief.

My only niggles about the book really don't bother me in context. At times I found the girls, especially Ji-Lin, to be rash and whiney but put in the age context and given the task they were to preform with very little fore-knowledge, it makes sense. When they meet a boy on the journey and he became the whiney one (again context but the girls also thought he was annoying) both girls seem to grow up and learned to think before acting, or put others before themselves. The ending brings all the pieces of their journey together and it comes to a good conclusion. I really like how things were solved.

I give this book 4 stars. I think adults need to remember who this is written for and I think that they will enjoy the journey and how the girls become more mature. I think kids will be enthralled with the journey, the mythological creatures, and the dragons (okay, I liked those parts too!). I recommend it to those that want to start kids on bigger books and anyone who likes an adventure.

 🦁

42 comments:

  1. So they need to meet a whiney book to stop whining..lol

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  2. Replies
    1. It was fun and a good way to get those MG kids to read!

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  3. This sounds like a cute adventure and I'm pretty sure I have a little one that would love this!

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  4. I've read a few MG books that have female protagonists, and they do tend to have the whine, but they are young... I have an 11 year old girl... I know! :-)

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    1. LOL! You are going to be in trouble for that statement. *snort* ;D

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  5. This sounds like a cute book, so I'm glad you enjoyed it! I don't read a lot of middle-grade anymore, but this would be great for my sister :)

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. I figure we all know someone who would enjoy an age appropriate book. :)

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  6. I do like the author's writing and I really like the premise of this one. I've read MG but the whining doesn't really phase me. I think the teens whine gets to me more. :D

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    1. I'm the same for the most part. I think I forgot at first what age it was and when I realized it, it didn't bother me.

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  7. I don't read a ton of YA either although it is nice to find a good one every once in a while. This one definitely looks good! Nice to hear that the girls grow throughout the story, and you can't go wrong with a flying lion!

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    1. It is MG (just so you know). You would LOVE that lion. He steals the show. :)

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    2. Erk, I mean MG! lol sorry...

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    3. LOL! NP! I just wanted to make sure you knew. :)

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  8. While I don't usually read YA this does sound quite good and I like the younger readers will enjoy it.

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    1. I agree, I think younger readers will love it!

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  9. A journey adventure does hit the spot especially for this age level. LOL, about the whiny bits. I've read adult fiction with that going on. Glad it was a good one. I'll keep it in mind for when I get in the mood for an MG.

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    1. True. It bothers me so much with adult fiction but not so much with MG. I just mention it in case adults read it and forget that age. :)

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  10. LOL, yes at the age they can be whiney! Great review.

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  11. I don't really read MG anymore, but that's cool that Durst wrote one. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. You need to check out her other work. I think you'll like it.

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  12. I think one of my youngest sisters would like this!

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  13. I'll have to look into this one for my son. He's a reader too, naturally. :-) The last MG book I read was A Monster Calls and that one was great. My son LOVES it - carries it with him everywhere. I'll let him know about this book. Thanks for the heads up!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

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    1. Oh sweet! A reader! I think he will love the creatures in this book.

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  14. I don't really read MG but this does sound good and agree the cover is great! Great review!

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    1. I keep these in mind for cousins in need of that age group books. :)

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  15. buffy rules! And for MG I guess it is pretty good

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  16. I have not read this author but your review has me curious!

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    1. Oh you need to check out her other works if MG isn't your genre. I think you'll like her.

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  17. This sounds terrific. I will have to add it to Risa's list.

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  18. This one sounds like so much fun! I haven't read any MG in years but I can see this one appealing to MG readers in a big way. And I'm trying to think of a 12 year old that *isn't* whiney... nope, can't think of a single one. LOL Sounds they also have some growth which is good. Great review, Melissa!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. LOL! They have great growth in this book and it is such a good MG book!

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  19. I am starting to read more MG because of my son. He is still young for it, but I feel like I need to get into it a bit more so I can build his library eventually and encourage reading. I think the age is the issue and something Id have to keep in mind also.

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    1. I think this would be perfect. Good adventure and age appropriate. :)

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  20. A great review! I don't tend to read a lot of MG but I think my 12 year old would really enjoy this.

    Sharon - Obsession with Books

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