Trei is instantly sky-mad, and desperate to be a kajurai himself. Read more...
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Trei is instantly sky-mad, and desperate to be a kajurai himself. The only one who fully understands his passion is Araene, his newfound cousin. Prickly, sarcastic, and gifted, Araene has a secret of her own . . . a dream a girl cannot attain.
Trei and Araene quickly become conspirators as they pursue their individual paths. But neither suspects that their lives will be deeply entwined, and that the fate of the Floating Islands will lie in their hands. . . .
Filled with rich language, and told in alternating voices, "The Floating Islands" is an all-encompassing young adult fantasy read.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-03-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Neumeier (The City in the Lake) introduces readers to a fascinating new world in this epic tale of aspiration and destiny told in alternating perspectives. After losing his immediate family in a volcanic eruption, Trei finds a new home with his mother's kin, who dwell in the Floating Islands. There, he discovers his one great ambition: to become one of the kajuraihi, who ride the air currents on winged harnesses powered by the same dragon magic that keeps the Islands aloft. He becomes close with his cousin Araenè, who chafes at the social restrictions placed on women and yearns to master the culinary arts reserved for men to study. As Trei joins the kajuraihi as an initiate, circumstances force Araenè to disguise herself as a boy and enroll in the hidden school of the mages. When the empire of Tolounn tries to invade the Floating Islands, both cousins are drawn into the battle, each tested and pushed to their limits, with surprising results. Complex and memorable characters, lush imagery, and a vividly constructed setting make this fantasy adventure soar. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
A world of fantasy and magic
Imagine a place so wild and fantastical that even the characters who inhabit this strange world can lose themselves in the magic around them. These are the Floating Islands, held above the seas by the power of invisible dragons.
Trei is only 14, orphaned and alone, when he first sees the flying men of the Islands. Taken in by his aunt and uncle, he is “sky-mad” by the time he meets his fierce cousin Araenè, who also has seemingly unattainable dreams. The Floating Islands place very strict constraints on women, and Araenè’s secret of donning boys’ clothing and disappearing into the streets creates a bond between the two teens.
A tragedy causes their worlds to get a little smaller and their paths to become infinitely tougher. Doors appear out of nowhere for Araenè, and through them she finds a possible future as a mage, a career only allowed for boys. Trei attains his ultimate dream of becoming a kajurai—a flying man—only to have his life threatened by an invading army. The young cousins find that their special gifts may be the only way to save the Floating Islands from disappearing forever.
In The Floating Islands, Rachel Neumeier creates a world with special wings designed for the flight of men and stone orbs that deliver magic in the form of flavors and spices. The rich details of Neumeier’s fantasy appear with the same ease with which the Islands seem to hover over the ocean, and the alternating voices of Trei and Araenè swap back and forth like the changing of trade winds. Young readers will find this book a delicious feast of geographies, histories, magic and flavors, and this reader certainly hopes there will be a sequel.