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The Floating Island (Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme (Hardback)) Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 22, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. Hardcover | Kindle book

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9–Ven Polypheme, a young Nain explorer, traveled much of the known and unknown world. Recently discovered fragments of his journal are the inspiration for this exciting and imaginative tale. Ven, a short, hobbitlike fellow, is celebrating his 50th birthday (he's approximately 13 in human years). He's the youngest of 13 children, has yet to sprout a single whisker, and can't seem to find his place in the family boatbuilding business. On its inspection cruise, their newest vessel is ambushed by pirates. In trying to set the attackers' ship on fire, Ven destroys both vessels. Saved by a mermaid, he ends up onboard the Serelinda, where he is befriended by Captain Oliver and Char, the galley assistant. Several adventures later, Ven and Char find themselves at the Crossroads Inn, which is filled with orphans, any number of fairies and ghosts, Murphy the talking cat, and Captain Oliver's wife, Mrs. Snodgrass. Mysteries abound. Mr. Whiting, the snooty owner of a nearby inn, has the youngster thrown in prison for stealing, but then shows up to rescue him. The crossroads near the inn are haunted by evil spirits, and the Living Water and Floating Island have magical powers. Haydon's fantastical universe, originally created for her adult novels, is filled with fun details, interesting characters, fast-paced adventure, snappy dialogue, and plenty of humor and heart.–Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ven, the thirteenth Polypheme child, has grown up in his family's ship-building business and tried his hand in every department. On his fiftieth birthday (the equivalent of a human's twelfth), he draws the short straw and is sent out to inspect his family's new ship. When the ship is attacked by Fire Pirates, who are known for leaving no survivors, and the youth is ordered to scuttle the ship, he figures out a way to do in the pirates as well. After surviving, he is helped by a mermaid and by a kindly captain, who sends him to an inn run by his wife. It turns out that the captain's wife has peculiar rules intended to keep people safe from evil, and the inn is filled with interesting boarders--among them, a talking cat and a ghost. In her first book for young people, Haydon, a popular author of numerous fantasies for older readers, uses journal entries interspersed throughout a fast-paced narrative to help bring Ven to life. Her world building is as successful as her characters, with Helquist's occasional loose sketches providing some visual distraction and additional atmosphere. A delightful epic fantasy that will attract a readership both older and younger than the target audience. Diana Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 15 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme (Hardback) (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Starscape; First Edition edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765308673
  • ASIN: B00164CN8Q
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,558,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book will grab you from the very first page, and will not let you go until the last past page has been turned. It will be a classic, a legend of one of the very best Young Adult adventure stories to exist. It is profoundly good, extremely well written, and immerses you into a world of lovable characters, creative worlds, and blends action, adventure, magic and horror in a unique and creative way. With an elusive and strange Albatross, a wise-cracking mermaid with an attitude, a Jules-Verne-like mysterious island, one heck of a big ship-eating shark, fire throwing pirates, a sweet and friendly ghost, and whole host of good guys and bad, this is one exciting book! I am so eager to read the next installment of Ven's adventures and hope that this series will be at least a trilogy if not more of an ongoing saga. Two thumbs up, five stars, just wonderful!
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By A Customer on September 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme feels like an outsider amidst his extended family. While his generational heritage is with ship building as he is an offspring of renowned shipwrights who prefer to stay home, he figures he must be adopted as he dreams of sailing. Considered of an age and experience to head the quality insurance of the latest vessel, Ven begins his inspection.

However, before he can complete his task, fire pirates attack his ship. Ven barely survives and only because the crew of another ship traveling the Island of Serendair rescue him. Ven is thankful to not only have a little magical adventure but unbeknownst to him he is the center of a conspiracy that started with the piracy raid. Unknown assailants believe Ven can lead them to the uncharted Floating Island where they can obtain the Water of Life; if his family, friends, and workers must die so be it.

Ven's journal entries and sketches found centuries later by archeologists make THE FLOATING ISLAND seem genuine though it is a sword and sorcery tale. The story line is action-packed as Ven relates his first adventures years before he becomes famous for his classic later works The Book of All Human Knowledge and All the World's Magic. Readers will appreciate this coming of age story as the look back by archeologists at the "authentic" persona and events make the realm of THE SYMPHONY OF AGES series setting real inside a fun fantasy. Elizabeth Haydon is at the top of her game with this superb sword and sorcery "historical".

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Floating Island opens up to a Young Nain (well, considered young in Nain standards) who lives in Vaarn, the Great Overward in a ship yard, where his "odd family of shipwrights," work in building ships. Every time a ship is finished being built, one of the children of Polypheme is sent aboard the ship to check it before it leaves the harbor. One such time when one of the ships is finished, Ven draws out the short straw and is sent onto the ship, and is ushered into a high-tailed adventure he had always dreamed of!
The ship is attacked by Fire Pirates who pray upon vessels, leaving Ven with no other choice but to blow it up! Ven awakens to find the ship gone and in the company of a Merrow (a mermaid) on a jetsam. He is later picked up by a passing ship known as the Serelinda, which takes Ven to a Floating Island and the Seren Star Land, The Island of Serendair! Ven always gets what he always dreamed of, journeying off to a far distant land and exploring! But evil arises, and Ven finds himself in trouble he didn't want or expect with being accused by a scoundrel of a man and taken prisoner and threatened to be executed unless he can convince them otherwise...
The Floating Island is a great start to the Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme. I believe this is a nice prologue to Elizabeth Haydon's: The Symphony of Ages series, which is a World Wide Bestseller, starting with the New York Times, USA Today Bestseller and phenomenal: Rhapsody, Child of Blood. If you read the Symphony of Ages series by Haydon, than you surely shall references to the famed Nain Explorer by the scales of the Stolen Deck and his book: The Book of All Human Knowledge and All The World's Magic.
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Format: Hardcover
Honestly, it's been several years since I've read these books, and while Harry Potter, Perseus Jackson, Eragon, Hunger Games and many others entertained us in between, it's Haydon's writing and enthralling stories that captured my heart. We get as many books from the library as we can, but I'm on line to buy this series for my 8 year old, 12 year old, who I first enjoyed them with, and for me. There's humor, suspense and even after all thIs time has gone by, Ven feels like family I want to reconnect with.
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Format: Paperback
I tried to read this book twice, but both times it lost my interest. I only got halfway through it before finally stopping, so I can only comment on that portion of the novel.

There is a lot of potential for fun and adventure in the story, but the book is relatively slow and directionless. Ven, the protagonist, doesn't have any clear goals or motives so he doesn't drive anything that happens in the first half of the book. Things happen to him and things happen around him. People rescue him, give him tasks, and send him places in order to propel the story. It seems like Ven is just along for the ride, which results in him being pretty dull.

There were also two aspects of the book that really bothered me. First, the conceit of the book is that it was written from fragments of Ven's journal that were discovered years later. The author chose to express this by writing the book in the third person limited POV with occasional passages in first person which represent excerpts from the journal. I found the journal entries to be jarring and redundant. They broke the natural flow of the narrative and rarely offered anything new or interesting.

The other element of the story that bothered me was the existence of numerous different races who didn't seem particularly distinct from one another. I'm not certain what the point of this was. The races are more than just ethnicities because there are significant differences in life spans and maturation as well as smaller physical details (Ven is a Nain, a race that lives 4 times as long as people and can't grow beards, but otherwise he's basically just like a normal human). When staying at an inn, he meets members of other races who look so much like humans that Ven is surprised to find out they aren't human.
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