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Journey Across the Hidden Islands Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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"An enjoyable coming-of-age fantasy-adventure that also showcases the deep bond between sisters."
Praise for Sarah Beth Durst’s The Girl Who Could Not Dream
“A fun, fast read with broad appeal.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Funny, warm, and highly imaginative.”—Kirkus, Starred Review
“A perfect combination of adventure, humor, and pure imagination, seasoned with a dash of creepiness!”—Jessica Day George, New York Times bestselling author of the Tuesdays at the Castle series
“Funny, scary, and endlessly inventive.”—Bruce Coville, author of Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
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Top Customer Reviews
Ji-Lin missed her sister desperately. As much as she loved training to become a warrior so that she could protect Seika, she wished they didn’t have to be separated for so long. So when she first learned that she would get to go home for a visit, she was thrilled. But when she discovered that the reason for the visit was so that she could accompany Seika on the Emperor’s Journey, her excitement turned to anxiety. Because she wasn’t quite sure she was ready for such an important task.
Seika followed every rule and did everything she was asked, unlike her sister, Ji-Lin. But when her father, the emperor, told her that it was time for her to do her duty for Himitsu and take the journey to the island’s guardian to renew their bargain, she wasn’t certain she was adequately prepared to honor tradition. She was told the path would be easy, but she had never been away from home before. And she certainly never had to come face-to-face with a dragon.
Sarah Beth Durst created a story that is delightful and interesting and fun and funny. She introduces two very likable twin sisters with very different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. She tests their fortitude, their ingenuity, their compassion, and their loyalty. And she takes them on a trek through a world that is fraught with danger - but she doesn’t make them go on it alone.
They are joined by Alejan, Ji-Lin’s friend and protector, an incredibly adorable winged lion who is equally as interested in sharing stories about his idol, Master Shai, as he is in talking about his next meal. And by a boy who they can’t decide whether he’s more of an interloper or a valuable traveling companion.
Sea monsters and pirate-like ships, earthquakes and abandoned villages, bargains and betrayals, heroes and princesses, JOURNEY ACROSS THE HIDDEN ISLANDS has it all and then some. And with a few unexpected twists thrown in, it promises to be a thoroughly engaging and immensely entertaining read.
Li-Jin is thrilled when she completes her training and is able to go home so that she and Seika can spend their twelfth birthday together. But when Li-Jin and Alejan, her winged lion companion, arrive there isn't much time for a reunion.
Instead the girls soon find themselves embarking on the Emperor's Journey to travel across the islands of Himitsu to pay respect to the kingdom's dragon guardian and renew their dragon's bargain to protect the Hundred Islands.
Nothing on the journey goes right as Li-Jin and Seika encounter earthquakes, foreigners, and monstrous creatures during their travels. Despite their inexperience and doubts, both girls know that Himitsu is relying on them. As they get closer to finding the dragon they will have to rely on each other and trust their instincts to keep their people safe in Journey Across the Hidden Islands (2017) by Sarah Beth Durst.
Durst's latest middle grade novel is a standalone fantasy set in a richly imagined world filled with magical creatures and unexpected dangers.
Li-Jin and Seika are strong heroines who know their potential even if they sometimes fear too much responsibility has been set on their shoulders. The sisters have a rock solid bond and both bring numerous strengths to their adventure in Journey Across the Hidden Islands.
The Hundred Islands of Himitsu are vividly described both from the ground and above thanks to Li-Jin's travels on the back of Alejan when he is flying. This story is imbued with Japanese-inspired culture along with inventive world building including magical creatures, ancient tales, and dramatic buildings.
Li-Jin and Seika's relationship as sisters forms the center of this story as the girls work together to protect, and potentially forever change, their kingdom. Journey Across the Hidden Islands is a fast-paced adventure with not one but two engaging and clever heroines. Recommended for fans of girl power fantasies, inventive worlds, and journey stories.
Possible Pairings: The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, The Keeper Of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier, A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede