The Gorgon's Gaze: The Companions Quartet: Book 2 Hardcover – Oct 15 2006
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`[Of Book 1, Secret of the Sirens]: 'I rated this book 5/5 because the story is so brilliant you simply have to read it. I would strongly advise this book so just buy it and read it!!!!!!!!' Jenii, age 10
`This book is the most excellent book I have ever read.' Amazon review
`If you are looking for a book for a child of junior age or above (or their Mum or Dad!) who enjoys fantasy fiction, then this would definitely be a great choice.' Amazon review
`This has all the ingredients of a must-read series.' Publishing News
`I really like it - it reminded me of Susan Cooper's Over Sea Under Stone.' Amanda Craig
`Crackles with tension' TES
`[Of Book 1, Secret of the Sirens]: 'I rated this book 5/5 because the story is so brilliant you simply have to read it. I would strongly advise this book so just buy it and read it!!!!!!!!' Jenii, age 10 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Julia Golding was shortlisted for the Ottakar's Love of Reading Prize for The Diamond of Drury Lane.
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"A place like the Americas to us dwellers in the old world, full of wonders as well as dangers. Take heed of what is written in these pagers so that you may avoid the errors of the past."--Julia Golding
The Gorgon's Gaze, the second book of the Companions Quartet, is an eco-fantasy novel written by Julia Golding, whose first novel, 'The Diamond of Drury Lane', won two Children's Book Prize in 2006. This series about mythical creatures has a gentle mystery aura. The book continues the story of the Secret of the Sirens, about a secret society sworn to protect mythical creatures. Connie Lionheart, a twelve year old girl, who becomes its central member.
Mallins Wood is under threat, and with it the home of the last remaining gorgon - a mythical creature that can kill with a look. Only a handful of people know that she still exists. Col and his mother are among them, and both are determined to save her, and the forest. While Col tries to rally support amongst the locals, his mum is hatching a more deadly plan. Egged on by the evil Kullervo, she is ready to sacrifice Col's best friend, Connie, to protect the gorgon.
Golding ends this installment with closure rather than suspense, though Kullervo will clearly be back soon. Set in two coastal English towns and the woods between them, this pleasantly earnest series will appeal especially to fans of golden dragons and human-animal bonds. The rest of the quartet includes Mines of the Minotaur, and The Chimera's Curse. Golding, who describe herself as a dweller in the old world, amuses and educates our kids.
"The Gorgons Gaze" does contain a strong environmental message, but it is not preachy or bombastic in conveying that information. Readers and parents who enjoy books with a message will find this novel quite a treat.
Julia Golding does a nice job of bringing necessary information from the first volume of The Companion's Quartet into "The Gorgons Gaze". While it is helpful to have read the first book in this series, it is not absolutely necessary to have done so. Language and situations contained in "The Gorgons Gaze" are appropriate for all ages.
Connie has other things on her mind than the mainstream human education her great-aunt is trying to give her. Mallins (Merlin's) Wood is about to be destroyed for roads. She's also just been given her special companion, a baby golden dragon. Aside from these two concerns, she has to repeatedly attempt to escape from her great-aunt's home in order to learn more about being a Universal.
Meanwhile, her friend Col has been busy visiting more and more with his mother, whose companion is a gorgon. He wants to be with his mom, yet she's more than a little creepy, especially since her companion is a gorgon (think, Medusa). What are her intentions behind reconnecting with him? It becomes increasingly clear that she may be aligned with the dark side--the shape-shifting Kullervo, who wants humans eradicated from the Earth. And why is Connie's great-aunt so secretive?
It can be challenging to include an environmental message in a book and not come across as preachy. It can also be difficult to take a Harry Potter-esque plot and not make it seem copycat. These are both handled relatively well in this book. The main problem I had with it was that Connie was able to deceive and/or escape her great-aunt pretty regularly, which seemed inconsistent with her overprotective nature. I also think the book, having such an unique setting and characters, could have benefited from a lot more descriptive passages as to appearances of the beings and locales. It was, at times, difficult to imagine the unique characters and settings.