Monday, March 21, 2011
The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
In The Floating Islands Trei‘s world is falling apart. His home is destroyed in a natural disaster, leaving him without a family and grieving the loss of his talented sister. After an Aunt and Uncle closer to home decides not to take him in, he leaves on a long journey to Milendri, one of The Floating Islands.
As his ship approaches the exotic lands, Trei is astonished by The Floating Islands and the dragon magic that keeps them hovering above the ocean. When he sees the kajurai glide over his ship, he desires more than anything to become one of the men who fly through the sky with wings made of feathers.
Once there, he attempts to settle in with his Uncle Serfei and Aunt Edona and cousin Araene, who acts cold towards him at the beginning. Eventually they bond, as Trei leaves for a chance to become a kajurai and Araene secretly stumbles upon a society of magicians and her own magical powers.
Loyalties are strained as Trei begins training to be a kajurai. Rumors of war between Trei’s birth place and his new home become reality and The Floating Islands are not prepared to withhold the powerful attacking navy. Araene and Trei become integral parts in whether the islands can survive.
I love fantasy books with a clear sense of place and history, with J.R.R. Tolkien being the obvious master. Neumeier creates a vivid and unique world, which I would put on a level of some of my favorites like Sharon Shinn, Kristin Cashore and Shannon Hale. At times the plot builds very slowly, but this is a good, exciting fantasy.
Fans of book like Incarceron by Catherine Fisher and Monster Blood Tattoo by D.M. Cornish will enjoy The Floating Islands.