Archive for 'Childrens fiction'

Mountain of Whispers – Book Review


by Keith Robinson

Mountain of Whispers is book 3 from the Island of Fog series.  Book 1 Island of Fog. Book 2 Labyrinth of Fire.

Once again we join Hal and his friends as they are sent on another mission that only they, with their special talents, can complete.  Hal, his friends and their families have had little time to settle into their new home when their new world comes under attack. If the young friends can solve a 15 year old mystery, they may just save everyone in this new world and those few survivors left in the old. 

A terrible secret has been revealed to one of the friends when they looked into a magic glass ball.   The truth of what caused the death of millions in their old world is horrible.  The revelation is so shocking it could cause fragile alliances to crumble.  With their new home under threat of invasion, the alliances are more important now than ever.    Hal and his shapeshifting friends are needed to secure the alliances and bring help to repel the invaders. 

Planning is  interupted when an old soothsayer arrives.  His predictions are generally dismissed but something in what he says makes sense to the friends and lines up with what was revealed in the glass ball.  They convince the leaders to let them investigate the soothsayer’s ravings on their way to gather allies.  So, armed only with their shapeshifting abilities, the friends leave to solve the mystery of The Mountain of Whispers. 

Keith Robinson has wielded his special kind of magic again and this book is just as wonderful as the first two.   The books are packed full of adventure and fun but also deliver some serious messages. For example, they  promote teamwork and respect of others; they explore environmental issues and disasters;  and demonstrate the complex issue of integration, immigration and race relations.  There are so many reasons why these books should be on every school list. So many big messages but you never feel like you’re being preached to.  Keith has a beautiful style of writing that sweeps you along effortlessly.  I hope Keith keeps adding to this series because I for one am not ready to put it down.

Thank you Keith Robinson.

Posted on 19 September '10 by , under Childrens fiction, Reviews, SciFi/Fantasy, Young Adult. 1 Comment.

Labyrinth of Fire – book review


by Keith Robinson

The second book in the Island of Fog series.  Island of Fog was probably my favourite read for 2009.  I love that it was such a great book and it was Keith Robinson’s debut novel.   So in my world that makes it special.

Labyrinth of Fire continues the story of 12yo Hal and his friends as they settle into their new home and their new ‘world’.  They aren’t given long to adjust when they are sent on their first ‘errand’ on behalf of the people who created them.  All the kids are still stretching their ‘alter-ego’ muscles, getting to know themselves as the magical creatures they can shapeshift into.  Hal especially is feeling ill-prepared and is worried that he may have been brought into the new world too early.  Despite looking, feeling, smelling and breathing fire like a dragon,  he still can’t fly.  

A village in a volcanic area is being attacked by harpies and dragons.  The kids are sent to negotiate with their ‘kind’ to stop the attacks.  They have to discover much more about themselves in order to succeed and secure the protection of the humans.

Keith Robinson has a wonderful easy writing style that never slows you up.  I was shocked how quickly I read the first book and am equally so with this one.  Labyrinth of Fire is well written, exciting and absorbing.  I am thoroughly confused as to who the kids can trust and am very anxious to read the third installment.  It is great entertainment for both children and adults.

Thank you Keith Robinson.

Posted on 4 January '10 by , under Childrens fiction, Reviews, SciFi/Fantasy, Young Adult. 2 Comments.

Island of Fog – Book Review


by Keith Robinson

ISBN: 13 978-1-4421-1441-8

Published: April 2009

I love young adult fiction and make no excuses for it.  I eagerly awaited the arrival of my copy of Island of Fog but when it arrived I was suddenly nervous because I really wanted to like it.  I tentatively stepped into the prologue, let out the breath I was holding and launched into the first chapter.  Now my book has a distinct bend in the middle from being stuck under my arm while I tended to my life of the last 3 days.   What a great adventure Keith Robinson took me on.  In keeping with the tradition of young adult fiction, Island of Fog brings together a group of young people who have to solve a mystery in order to save themselves and those they love.

Twelve year old Hal and Robbie are best friends and live in a small community on a green lush island.  The outside world is not known to them, their parents exiled themselves when the world was ravaged by a deadly virus.  Despite being marooned, their island life, up till now, has been ideal but now in their teens they start to question their surroundings.  They crave things they have only heard about, they crave adventure and something new, they crave the sun and the moon.  The sun and moon are never seen on their island because the island is covered in a thick impenetrable fog.   Hal, Robbie and the other teenagers on the island are getting restless. They are adolescents and like all adolescents are going through physical and mental changes.  They are becoming adults, getting taller, stronger, and forming crushes.  They are growing hair in strange places but is it normal to grow it on your fingers, is it normal to be itching all day, is it normal to have a green scaly rash or sharp fangs.  Should they show their parents?  Can they trust their parents, whose explanations don’t seem convincing anymore?  Can they trust the strange outsider who arrives, unaffected by the virus and conveniently, at the same time as their physical changes?  They know they aren’t being told the truth and set out to find it.

Island of Fog travels along at an enjoyable pace and the suspense has you hungry for each page turn.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book and love that young adult fiction can take you off on a great adventure without you being muddied up by ‘adult themes’.  Island of Fog ends but the story is certainly not wrapped up and I searched the last few blank pages with hope of finding an excerpt of the next book.   So, Keith Robinson, thank you for Island of Fog and as I can feel a series coming on, I sit, eagerly awaiting book two.

Posted on 5 August '09 by , under Childrens fiction, Reviews, SciFi/Fantasy, Young Adult. 3 Comments.