The Dark Hills Divide
The Land of Elyon Book 1
Famous Children's author Madeliene L'Engle once stated that writing children's literature was harder than writing for adults because children ask more questions; children just do not accept what an author writes the way most adults will. Her statements have always stuck with me and since doing a children's literature course a few years back, I have continued to read children's and teen fiction regularly. Usually I look for books that have a lot of buzz about them, have then been nominated for a Newbury, or Mr. Christie, American Library Association or here in Canada a Governor General's Literary Award (more commonly know as the GG's.). If so I try to pick it up and give it a read. Because of that I tend to browse the children's and teen sections at Chapters when I happen to be in a store.
The cover of this book captured my attention and almost compelled me to purchase it. The representation of our Heroine Alexa is a very striking image. I purchased this book when it came out nearly 2 years ago and yet only just recently picked it up to read. I now regret that I did not read it sooner. In part, I hesitated reading the book because the cover art was so powerful and cast such a spell upon me, I feared the text not living up to the story I had begin to build in my imagination. Those fears were unfounded.
The Story is set in a walled kingdom. A Kingdom built like 3 spokes on a wheel. Alexa is from Lathbury, the south western spoke, from the hub of Bridewell. This walled Kingdom was built by the Warvold after his extensive travels in the wild mysterious world. He built walls around the central town of Bridewell, and walled roads out to the three surrounding towns of Lunenburg, Turlock and Lathbury. Yet upon the eve of his death, he hints to Alexa that the walls, once thought to be the salvation of the towns and their civilization, he now considers to be a mistake. Alexa begins an adventure shortly after the Warvold's death that will affect her and this kingdom for time to come.
Yet the Warvold's death has caused a society once stable and thriving to start to spin out of control. Alexa sneaks outside the wall and meets a dwarf and a talking wolf and is summoned to a council, the severity and importance of which not even the participants can realize. Can Alexa fufill a calling upon her life that the Warvold foresaw and that some others are trying to help happen and others wish to thwart?
This is one of those great books, originally written for children, that can captivate an audience of any age. Carman has an extremely mature voice and he writes in a manner of a master wordsmith. Carman only conceived of this series in his mid thirties; it is an extremely well- rounded and crafted world - a pleasure to visit, and I plan to re-enter the land of Elyon again and again.
(First Published in Imprint 2008-02-22.)
Other of Patrick Carman Books:
The Dark Hills Divide - The Land of Elyon Book 1
Beyond the Valley of Thorns - The Land of Elyon Book 2
The Tenth City - The Land of Elyon Book 3
Into The Mist - The Land of Elyon Prequel
Stargazer - The Land of Elyon Book 4
The House of Power - Atherton Book 1
Rivers of Fire - Atherton, Book 2
The Dark Planet - Atherron Book 3
Saving Mr Nibbles - Elliot's Park Book 1
Haunted Hike - Elliot's Park Book 2
The Walnut Cup - Elliot's Park Book 3
A Windy Tale - Elliot's Park Book 4
Skeleton Creek - Skeleton Creek Book 1 - A Prereview.
Ghost in the Machine - Skeleton Creek Book 2
Crossbones - Skeleton Creek Book 3
The Raven - Skeleton Creek Book 4
The Black Circle - 39 Clues Book 5
Thirteen Days to Midnight