Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In Case You Missed It - The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

Published: Feb 2011
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 400
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

When Trei loses his family in a tragic disaster, he must search out distant relatives in a new land. The Floating Islands are unlike anything Trei has ever seen: stunning, majestic, and graced with kajurai, men who soar the skies with wings.

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.

The Floating Islands is an interesting coming of age fantasy tale that explores the idea of acceptance and choice.  Who are you? Where do you belong?  Is Trei an Islander/Karujai, or is he Tolounnese? Is Araene going to meekly accept life a a woman on the islands, or fight for the right to be a mage in a mans world?

The character development was very strong and the younger characters show tantalizing glimpses of who they will become.  Equally, the older characters show some weaknesses and reveal that everyone can make mistakes.  There are also two very distinct societies with Tolounn being more scientifically advanced and the Islands relying more on magic.

The Floating Islands was a wonderful story full of new worlds and unusual concepts that haven't been seen before.  Expect mysterious dragons, flying men, hidden, moving buildings, wild steam contraptions that can neutralise magic, and much more.  Add a sense of excitement and wonder and a tension that never really leaves and it all adds up to a great read.

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