Golding offers the softer side of adventure fantasy. In the lovely opening scene, Connie plays and talks with seagulls. Living with eccentric Aunt Evelyn, she learns of a secret Society charged with protecting "mythical" beings (actually real) from humanity's violence. Each Society member is companion to a particular species: water sprites, selkies, unicorns, dragons or one of many others. Might Connie be a companion to the sirens who live on nearby rocks tempting sailors to their deaths? Her destiny is far greater: She's a universal, a rare human companion to all mythical creatures. Foils include an international oil company poised to pollute the ocean, and Kullervo, a malevolent spirit in the process of taking over the world. Perspective is mostly Connie's but occasionally shifts to Col, a companion to "pegasi." Structurally epic but gentle in aura; an easily accessible tale for readers who enjoy mythical creatures. --Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007
The first book in the "Companions Quartet," Secret of the Sirens picks up where JK Rowling left off concerning the Society for the Preservation of Mythical Creatures fantasy enthusiasts. It's a classic hero's journey with Connie, a twelve-year-old newcomer to Hescombe, Great Britain, as the heroine. Unbeknownst to her, she is a descendant of a long line of companions to mythical creatures, but she thinks her ability to get along and communicate with animals is just another reason why she doesn't fit in to the regular school scene. She has transferred from several different schools and finally ends up living with her eccentric Aunt Evelyn, a threshold guardian, unsure of letting Connie know of the existence of the secret society. When it appears that Connie not only should be a member, but the highest ranking member as a universal companion to all mythical creatures and the only one who can save them from the exploits of modern-day business expansion, she fully supports Connie's gift, and becomes her ardent protector, as well as a loving aunt. Battling the Shapeshifter, an evil force that threatens the human world, Connie and the other companions, along with the help of the mythical creatures, save an oil tanker from crashing upon the sharp rocks and spilling black oil throughout the sea. The evil force appears to be destroyed, but Connie senses it will re-gather and confront her, the universal companion, in the future to again tempt her to help him destroy humankind. This is a great fantasy that is well written and riveting to the reader. An underlying message about saving our environment is intertwined throughout the story, and it also integrates characters of diverse ethnicities. It is a wonderful start to a series that will quickly develop a following. --Children's Literature, April 2007
About the Author
This is Julia Golding's first novel.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.