This is an absolutely brilliant little book. I loved so many little things about it – the cover and page design, the adventure and the characters.
The first thing that grabbed my eye was the beautiful cover, as well as all the pages were decorated with nautical and map images. These really added to the overall feel of the novel and I really loved this. They helped to reinforce the adventure feel to the story.
This is ultimately a story of friendship, adventure and self-discovery. It reminded me in many ways of a cross between Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘The Tempest’ and a darker version of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Kiran Millwood Hargrave certainly has a wonderful imagination – the world building is fantastic. It’s done in such an artfully vague way that you get a real sense of place without there being too much description. It had the feel of a fairy tale, but with more depth to it. One aspect I really liked was the narrative felt rather myth-like, in a nod towards the myth in the story.
It did feel like there were one or two plot threads that could have been followed up more and that the characters just flowed from one plot point to another at times, but not enough to damage the over all story.
I really liked that the plot focused mainly on Isabella and Lupe’s friendship, and I thought the story was really sweet. I really liked how there was a hint of romance with the Pablo character, but there was nothing concretely acknowledged in the plot. This really gives out an important message to young readers that actually friendship is far more important in life.
Over all it was an adventure story filled with mystery; if you like fairy tales you would really like this novel. The ending was quite sad, but I would say it is definitely worth a read. Despite what happens in the end, you don’t feel like the adventure was all for nothing. Plus there’s nothing that really restricts it from being read by certain groups of people, so it’s a novel for all ages. I would give it a 4/5.