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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This one is destined to become a classic!, 9 Jun. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
This book has it all:
A well-paced and intelligent story laced with wry humour that still manages to unobtrusively educate and tackle such important themes as globalisation without ever become preachy. Ms Kay expertly juggles, weaves, and final neatly knits together at least half a dozen different plot threads.
A rich cast of quirky and varied characters who avoid the stereotypes so often found in the average children's book. Every character, (even those with only bit parts), in this book feels real. The heroes and heroines have flaws and foibles and the villains all have at least one likeable or redeeming feature. (My personal favourite is Ironclaw; a loveable, fearsome and occasionally pompous brazzle - The Divide's equivalent of a griffin - who specialises in pure mathematics. Yes - The Divide manages to make even abstract maths both interesting and fun!)
Best of all though, is the setting. A wonderfully well thought out magical other world that engages the imagination, wraps you up in a sense of wonder and leaves you longing for more.
In the book's introduction, the publisher says he is trying to persuade Ms Kay to write a sequel. I sincerely hope he succeeds!
I have four goddaughters all of whom are the right age for this book. I have bought a copy for each of them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Original Fantasy, 30 Aug. 2004
By 
Chrestomanci (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Divide (Paperback)
Endless clones of Rowling and Pullman really are becoming a little wearying - the fact that this author has taken all the standard fantasy characters and created something entirely original is what makes this book special; that, and the humor!
Young terminally ill Felix collapses on the Great Continental Divide, falling in such a way that he slips into an alternate universe. He wakes up in a land where all the mythical beasts: griffins, dragons, elves, fauns, vampires, centaurs etc., are commonplace - and humans are mythical! He finds himself trapped in a world where most of the characters he meets don't believe he exists!
This is a lengthy book with a multi-stranded plot - yet it never feels long, as it moves along at such a brisk pace. In many respects, it reminds me of the old Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree stories, yet much more plot driven and contemporary. Furthermore, what really makes this book fizz is the constant humor.
Many reviewers have admired the unusual cover design - but I thought this was the book's one failing. Both the hardback (with a split cover) and paperback (with a hole in the cover), are very abstract in design. This, coupled with the ambiguity of the title - and the reader's first glimpse of the book conceals what lies within its pages. I suspect that a cover depicting the multiplicity of mythical fantasy creatures found within the text would work better and attract more fans of the genre.
Probably best suited to 8 - 12 year-olds, rather than young adult as suggested above.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snakeweed gets a taste of his own medicine?, 15 May 2003
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
I found myself giving wry smiles and chuckles at the poke-in-the-eye to multi national companies this book provides for the adult reader. But I then wondered if I would care enough about our hero and main character Felix to wish him his dream come true at the end.
I needn't have worried. In no time, I was roaring along on an adventure ride in a fantasy land filled with beautifully described creatures and beings. The fantastical Brazzles, the unmentionable shadow beasts, the extraordinary Shreddermouth and the noble Brittlehorns all giving something to the plot along the way.
As much as I wanted our friendly heroes, Felix now joined by his tangle-child friend Betony and the Brazzles of course, to succeed I wanted Snakeweed to get his comeuppance.
The sting in the tale of this book leaving me itching for a sequel to see what havoc Snakeweed can cause and how our friends from the other side of The Divide can be brought back into the story. Any chance?
If I enjoyed this magical ride this much, I just can't see how the kids that read it are going to contain their excitement. Any bedtime story reading adult has got his or her work cut out trying to find an appropriate place to stop this story for the night! My guess is most kids won't be sleeping until they've heard the lot.
A cracking read, a great insight into a fantastical world and I'm only left with one question...When will Snakeweed get a taste of his own medicine?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Divide, 5 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
A thoroughly enjoyable and compelling read.
Crammed full of weird and wonderful creatures, sympathetic characters and magic, The Divide is Harry Potter with depth!
Guranteed to interest even the most reluctant of readers, I recommend The Divide to teachers and parents alike.
A must for teachers wishing to read something out of the ordinary and exciting to their class that will hold their attention and feed their imaginations.
A must for parents looking for that something to shut the kids up for prolonged periods of time!
The Divide is the most interesting and engaging children's read to come onto the market for a very long time. I cannot wait for the sequel!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great escapism with darkly realistic overtones, 21 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
A friend lent me this to read to my eight-year-old while she was ill, and although I'm sure it was mostly due to the antibiotics, I would dearly love to think that this magical tale in part helped her recover.
Having to think about and sympathise with Felix, the main character who was in a much worse position than she (as he suffers from a life-threatening heart condition) certainly made her look on the bright side about being ill, and the fiendishly original (and occasionally hysterically funny) characters such as Ironclaw (whom I suspect will be most people's favourite) Grimspite, the Shreddermouths, Snakeweed and all the rest most definitely took her mind off it all.
The plot is gripping, the fantasy world is (mostly) convincing, and there are numerous reflections of things from our own world that we should (but don't) think about far more carefully than we do. From pollutants getting into the food-chain and threatening the existance of species with important ecosystem functions, to pharmaceutical giants dodging the long process of testing new drugs and so making dangerous mistakes. I was a little disappointed that my daughter didn't pick up on these issues, but I should think that she'll be reading it again, and may be a little more alert this time...
However great all these things are in The Divide, none of it holds a candle to the characterisation and the dialogue, which are absolutely superb.
With the recent explosion of good children's books on the market, this one comes as a thoughtful, funny, and very original addition to the fairies-with-attitude genre, and I'm very much looking forward to Elizabeth Kay's next published work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional, original, brilliant fun, clever and captivating, 2 Mar. 2004
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
When I first took this book off the shelf and held the unique split cover design in my hand I knew I was in possession of something special. Nothing about this brilliantly designed cover was lost in the opening of the book. It is by far the tightest novel I have read this year. It is intelligent, full of surprise and loads of fun. I'm certain anyone who enjoys fantasy, will adore this book - it’s definitely better than The Order of the Pheonix.
I can’t wait for the sequal!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read, 11 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
The amazing cover, which opens like two shutters, tempts you in to an amazing read. I had intended to read a couple of chapters and then do something else, but couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. Now I can't wait for the sequel. I'm rather past the 9-12 age group the publishers say it's for (x 5 actually!)but I don't like giving children books without knowing what I've given. The writing is beautiful, serious and seriously funny in places. The Divide’s alternative world is incredibly well worked out, none of those annoying inconsistencies that used to drive me mad as a child. It gave me food for thought too. Like all the very best children's books you can enjoy it on several levels. Some of the characters in this mirror world inhabit our world too, with all their quirks and foibles. If The Divide doesn't become a classic then Ironclaw's no brazzle!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over J.K., E.Kay's about to take your crown!, 10 May 2003
By 
Joy Kluver "joy1970" (London, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
Over the last few years I've discovered that if you want a really good read as an adult, then you have to look in the Children's section. 'The Divide' is no exception. Packed full with interesting characters, a stunning plot and underlying themes about mathematics, science, history and the pharamceutical industry, this is definitely a book you can read on the train. Add to that the wonderful cover that opens up like a triptych and it's a bookseller's dream.
Although it's written third person plural, it's not at all confusing. In fact it gives it a lovely, reverse spiral effect. And if you do happen to forget exactly what a brazzle is then there's a vocabulary page at the beginning of the book.
The only question now is, will the BBC make this a Sunday tea-time drama or will Hollywood beckon?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 13 Nov. 2010
By 
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Divide (Paperback)
Felix is a boy whose parents are a little overprotective of him. And who can blame them? Their son has a potentially fatal heart condition. One wrong move could be Felix's last. Considering the circumstances, his parents are doubly horrified when Felix disappears during a family vacation to Costa Rica.

While his parents fear that Felix might be kidnapped or lost in the jungle, the truth is far stranger. Their son is in another world - one he entered accidentally while crossing the continental divide. In this other world, magic is real and Felix is treated like a legend that sprang from a storybook. After all, the many odd creatures that inhabit this magical world have never seen a human before and find it hard to believe that one is walking among them. Felix spends the majority of THE DIVIDE exploring the magical world, making friends with its bizarre inhabitants, and trying to find a spell that will send him home.

Some of my favorite characters in the book are the brazzles, which are huge, bird-like creatures, much like griffins. The males of the species are obsessed with math. The females are not. This does not make for happy brazzle marriages. Felix also becomes close friends with what is known as a tangle child. Her name is Betony and she is an elf. After getting over the fact that they have really met a legendary human, Felix's new friends are willing to use their understanding of magic to try and help him find his way home.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the magical world is so generous and kind. Felix also runs afoul of some unpleasant creatures, including japegrins, who want to take advantage of his helplessness.

THE DIVIDE is an imaginative book that I highly recommend to lovers of young adult fantasy. It has likeable characters, as well as villains who are easy to despise. It presents a magical world that the reader can see through Felix's eyes. Also, as an added bonus, it has a wonderful cover. Maybe that should not carry much weight, but for some reason, I was delighted by the cover that split down the middle. Overall, I believe that if readers jump to a magical world along with Felix, they will agree that it was well worth the trip.

Reviewed by: K. Osborn Sullivan
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5.0 out of 5 stars This one is destined to become a classic!, 10 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Divide (Hardcover)
This book has it all:
A well-paced and intelligent story laced with wry humour that still manages to unobtrusively educate and tackle such important themes as globalisation without ever become preachy. Ms Kay expertly juggles, weaves, and final neatly knits together a raft of different plot threads.
A rich cast of quirky and varied characters who avoid the stereotypes so often found in the average children’s book. Every character in this book, (even those with only bit parts), feels real. The heroes and heroines have flaws and foibles and the villains all have at least one likeable or redeeming feature. (My personal favourite is Ironclaw; a loveable, fearsome and occasionally pompous brazzle - The Divide’s equivalent of a griffin - who specialises in pure mathematics. Yes – The Divide manages to make even abstract maths both interesting and fun!)
Best of all though, is the setting. A wonderfully well thought out magical other world that engages the imagination, wraps you up in a sense of wonder and leaves you longing for more.
In the book’s introduction, the publisher says he is trying to persuade Ms Kay to write a sequel. I sincerely hope he succeeds!
I have four goddaughters all of whom are the right age for this book. I have bought a copy for each of them.
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The Divide
The Divide by Elizabeth Kay (Hardcover - 1 May 2003)
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