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Dark Hills Divide (Land of Elyon Book #1) Paperback – 17 Jun 2005
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Inquisitive twelve-year-old Alexa Daley is spending another summer in the walled town of Bridewell. This year, she is set on solving the mystery of what lies beyond the walls. Legend says the walls were built to keep out an unnamed evil that lurks in the forests and The Dark Hills. But what exactly is it that the townspeople are so afraid of? As Alexa begins to unravel the truth, pushing beyond the protective barrier she's lived behind all her life, she discovers a strange and ancient enchantment - and exposes a danger that could destroy everything she holds dear.
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However; not one for reading 'modern' children's books/stories usually; I thought I'd give it a go for a similar reason as another Reviewer has done; the attractive and unusual artwork. (I did go to see an image of the author too which I always like to do with writers I'm not familiar with - and gosh; is he a handsome fellow or what!!)
I've just finished reading this first title - book one; and I have to say, this has been a great read! Even for an adult too! I thought children's (or young adults) books had stopped being written like this long ago - but I was wrong - I LOVE this style! What a gem of a trilogy I've stumbled upon here - particularly as I usually have no time for them...
This is a delightful story of magic, mystery and fantasy that will simply delight all! From talking animals, cats for Spies, friendships - and all centred around a small girl of twelve!
The time period in which the story is set is undetermined, which for me, simply makes it even more 'enchanting'. It would have spoiled it for me if every second or so, someone had been hopping in and out of a car - or answering a mobile phone... Secret passages in Libraries, mysterious old books - it's all here! Do not be deterred because these titles are aimed at children - they're for anyone with a little imagination left, and for those of us who have a part of the child hidden away within them still!
I'm already looking forward to reading my 'Book Two'!
She never dreamed her explorations would take her outside the walls and lead to a strange little man who guides her to an ancient enchantment. Through the power of the enchantment, Alexa learns of a deadly plot that threatens to destroy Bridewell.
Alexa can't save Bridewell alone, but there's a traitor in their midst, and she's not sure who she can trust. Choosing the wrong allies could prove fatal.
Carman has an amazing imagination, and his skill in crafting a story seems effortless. THE DARK HILLS DIVIDE, the first story in THE LAND OF ELYON series, is magical and draws the reader in with lovable characters, a mystery full of danger, and a setting that evokes the imagination.
I first borrowed THE DARK HILLS DIVIDE from my local library several years ago. Picking up Alexa's story again was like reuniting with an old friend. I knew I had loved the book back then, but had forgotten how much. I can't wait to reacquaint myself with Alexa's next adventure in the second book, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THORNS.
Reviewed by: Joan Stradling
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.)
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