This is the first book in the second trilogy set in the Land of Elyon. It can either be seen as a prequel to The Dark Hills Divide, or as a new beginning in a new saga. It really is, in part, both. For in this book Alexa Daley and Yipes from the first series are on a sea voyage with Thomas Warvold, brother to the late Rolan Warvold. This book is the tale of Roland and Thomas and their journey from being orphans in a house on the hill, to being respective leaders and adventurers in their own right.
Our three adventurers are on a voyage. Yet Thomas has not told Alexa or Yipes where they are going. But he does settle in and tell them the story of how he got there to be the captain of the Warvick Beacon, and also the tale of his brother's and his own adventures when they were younger than Alexa is now. The brother's journey goes from being little more than slave labor to journeys under the world, over mountains and into a magical land where you do not grow old.
All the while, the reader knows that they are being told this story, because Thomas had a task in the story for Alexa and Yipes, a task related to his past and a task that must be faced. Evil has been released in the land of Elyon, and a battle between good and evil is approaching Elyon and Abaddon. It is a battle that once again young Alexa and her friend Yipes will have to decide to choose, either bravery and face the challenge at hand, or ...
There are many great facets of Carman's writings. First is his smooth fluid prose. Second is the wonderful word pictures he creates in the reader's mind, and third, his stories center around normal people being called on to stretch their limits. It is not the classic story of the giant battle between good and evil. It is about small battles with people fighting to do right and learning from their own pasts. His stories have life lessons that can be applicable to almost any reader, yet written in such a way that he never preaches at the reader. The battles are between good and evil without it being a cosmic battle for the whole universe, the whole planet or in this case the land of Elyon.
This book is a great read for the reader of any age, and since it is the first in a new trilogy, it will leave you wanting and eagerly awaiting the next installment.
(First Published in Imprint 2008-05-16.)