Monday, June 2, 2014

Another Fantasy Hits my Recommend List

Another one of our local authors, Alina Sayre, has written a fantasy that surprised me (remember A.R. Silverberry's Wyndano's Cloak?).  The Illuminator's Gift (book 1 of The Voyages of The Legend) was rolling along nicely.  I was enjoying it.  And then - BOOM - the story exploded.  Do you all remember Gone Girl?  I know you do.  In that one, the 1st half of the book was good, and the 2nd half was great.  This hit me in a similar way.  The 1st 2/3 of the book were (was?) entertaining and enjoyable.  I cared about the characters and liked the way they blended.  There was some action and a lot of relationship building. The protagonist, 12-year old Ellie, lost her parents at a very young age and had to be sent to an orphanage.  In her succeeding years, she was adopted 3 times and sent back to orphanages each time.  I really felt for her.

So there I am, pleasantly reading about Ellie, Jariel, Miss Sylvia, and Chenelle.  And then Jude, Owen, Connor, the captain, and Vivian (a little bit later), and waiting to see what would happen next.  And, as I said before, I got blindsided.  The last 1/3 grabbed me and shook me.  I was cheering, crying, gasping, crying, shaking, and, you guessed it, crying. It's rare that a book does that to me (not the crying part).  Obviously Gone Girl did.  But, most of the time, I like a book pretty much the same all the way through.  Not so much this time.  Alina gets high marks for the 1st 2/3 and off-the-chart marks for the last 1/3. Nicely done, Alina.

What is this book about?  Once again, I turn to Goodreads to give you the outline.

Ellie is a twelve-year-old orphan who desperately wants a family. She just doesn't expect to find one when she joins the crew of the Legend, a flying ship in a secret rescue fleet. On board, she meets a boy with a pet tarantula, a bully with eyes like mirrors, and a librarian who can read eighteen languages. Unexpectedly, Ellie also discovers a powerful gift that only she can wield. But when the Legend is called to a dangerous rescue mission, Ellie risks losing everyone she loves. Will her mysterious gift be enough to save her and her friends from a deadly enemy bent on destroying their world?

You might ask:  Who would like this book?  Well, obviously, some (at least one) 64-year olds.  Let's ask the question a different way:  Who is the target audience?  Alina has said 9-14 year olds.  I've already purchased a copy for my 9-year old granddaughter.  She is an avid reader but, currently, only avids Harry Potter.  She's on book 6, so it could be a while before she gets to Alina's book.  I will be harassing her (mildly, of course) until she picks it up.

If you know any kids in the 9-14 age group, you cannot go wrong if you buy this book for them.  But again I say that I think it has appeal beyond that limited age group.  I know I'll be in the front of the line for book 2!

BOOK LAUNCH:  Although Alina self-published The Illuminator's Gift in 2013, she will have a formal book launch at - you guessed it - Village House of Books on Thursday night, July 10.  I strongly urge you to come see Alina.  She is so darn cute - and talented. You will also get to meet Amalia Hillmann, her illustrator, who has done a beautiful job with the cover art (and who is also darn cute - and talented).  It will be early enough in the evening (6:00-8:00) that all of your kids/grandkids can make it.  And let's not forget that it's summertime.  Come on down.  It's going to be a lot of fun.

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