City of Islands

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
485 0
City of Islands
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
July 24, 2018
ISBN
9780062499813
Buy This Book
      
A dark and riveting middle grade fantasy from the critically acclaimed Kali Wallace about an archipelago of magical islands and one girl’s dangerous discovery on the ocean floor. Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kate Milford.

In a foggy archipelago called the City of Islands, twelve-year-old Mara has always been fascinated by the magic that drifts on the air as songs. But as a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides, Mara must earn her keep by searching for magical treasures deep in the murky ocean.

Then Mara finds the skeletons of strange hybrid creatures that haven’t existed in the city for centuries—all humming with a powerful spell-song. Convinced her discovery will earn her the opportunity to study magic, Mara shares them with the Lady. But instead of a reward, the Lady gives Mara a new challenge: to sneak into the island fortress, the Winter Blade.

Now Mara must dive deeper than ever before to survive her mission. The chilling truths that Mara uncovers along the way, about her past as well as about the secrets of her beloved city, are more dangerous—and magical—than she ever imagined.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

One of the best middle grade fantasy books ever
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Top 5 Reasons to Grab CITY OF ISLANDS immediately:

1.) The World Building: CITY OF ISLANDS is set exactly as the title suggests: on a city of islands. Each island has its own character and design, and the focus on the ocean as such a central part of live is amazing. I have read many fantastic middle grade fantasies, but I haven't felt as much warmth and magic from a fantasy world since Hogwarts. Wallace deftly creates an environment both beautiful and dark, home-like and entirely different at once. The characters are truly tied into every part of the physical and magical world around them in ways that isn't shown in other fantasy worlds.

2.) The Writing: While I have enjoyed Wallace's previous books before, her writing blew me away in CITY OF ISLANDS. From the lush descriptions of the water to the lyrical prose to the creative magic songs, I wanted to wrap myself up in the words like a blanket.

3.) The Action: From the first chapter, you know exactly what is at stake for Mara. She's mostly alone in the world, she fights daily for survival, and she has dreams of finding and doing more. As plot twist after plot twist happens, your heart will race, and your hands will be frantically turning the pages. There are times when no characters' motives are clear, when some make surprising choices, and with each discovery, the stakes build and build. In the last 100 or so pages, I was so tense following the plot that I nearly bent the book clutching it.

4.) Mara: Mara is everything I wanted in a protagonist: brave, steady, and curious. She is extremely likable, and readers will root for her from page one. She is understandable, and though her circumstances are often heartbreaking, she has a tenacity and perseverance that doesn't let up, not completely.

5.) The Conflicts: There were many times I was never quite sure who was on whose side. Mara is far from naive and understands that the motivations of people around her are often based on their own best interest, which is not always great for herself. Mara struggles to find a spot for the complex and complicated people around her.

Sorely under-the-radar, CITY OF ISLANDS is a nonstop magical adventure overflowing with heart and daring.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen...
You Say It First
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
One conversation can change everything. Meg has her entire...
My High School Royal Boyfriend
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
ALEX A tragedy at Langley Estate puts my family...
The Forgotten World (The World Apart Series Book 3)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Clark thought he knew what grief was. Addie thought...
Tales from the Hinterland
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A gorgeously illustrated collection of twelve “lush and deliciously...
Sisters of Shadow and Light
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
From the acclaimed author of Defy, Sara B. Larson,...
In the Penalty Box
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Willow Figure skating was supposed to be my whole...
Unchosen
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a horrifying...
Miracle Girl
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Leanne Strong hates June eighth even though it's supposed to...
The Memory Thief  (Thirteen Witches #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Rosie Singer’s mom is missing whatever it is that...
Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
On October 2nd, 1977, Glenn Burke, outfielder for the Los...
The Elephant in the Room
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's been almost a year since Sila's mother traveled halfway...
Alone in the Woods
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jocelyn and Alex have always been best friends...until they aren't....
Disaster Days
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hannah Steele loves living on Pelling, a tiny island near...
Wild River
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Daniel Redmayne is fast asleep on the first night of...
The Last Hurrah
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
3 nights, 2 days, and 1 massive music fest ....

Latest Member Reviews

My First 100 Space Words
 
3.3
"MY FIRST 100 SPACE WORDS is a cute, illustrated collection of space-related words, including planet names, satellites, space junk, and..."
The ABCs of Black History
 
5.0
"THE ABCS OF BLACK HISTORY is a fantastic picture book of a poetic walk through the alphabet related to Black..."
Incredible Animals
 
5.0
"INCREDIBLE ANIMALS is a fascinating collection of animals by special skills, including clever camouflage, devoted parents (such as penguins), and..."
Eyelike Stickers: Trains
 
5.0
"EYELIKE STICKERS: TRAINS is an unbelievably cool collection of stickers. These 400 stickers include many photographs of trains, as well..."
Amazing Places
 
4.7
"AMAZING PLACES is a delightful exploration of 15 manmade wonders, including the Taj Mahal, pyramids, and Moai (Easter Island). The..."
About Seabirds: A Guide for Children
 
5.0
"'About Seabirds: A Guide for Children' by Cathryn Sill, illustrated by John Sill, lends credibility to the power of nature..."
The Cat in the Box
 
3.3
"THE CAT IN THE BOX attempts to explain Schrodinger's work regarding quantum paradox. While the original thought experiment explained this,..."
5-Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime: 30 Amazing Stories: Featuring frozen frogs, King Tut’s beds, the world's biggest sleepover, the phases of the moon, and more
 
5.0
"5 MINUTE REALLY TRUE STORIES FOR BEDTIME is a very cool collection of bedtime themed stories. It spans topics from..."
Earth-Shattering Events: Volcanoes, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis and other natural disasters
 
5.0
"Earth-Shattering Events by Robin Jacobs is a wonderfully thought-out book that details different natural disasters: what they are, how we..."
Gut Garden: A journey into the wonderful world of your microbiome
 
4.7
"Gut Garden by Katie Brosnan is a well-thought out journey through our digestive system, introducing kids to the bacteria and..."
ICK! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses
 
5.0
"National Geographic Kids is always sure to be a winner at my house. Their newest release has been deemed the..."
Dinosaurs Are Not Extinct: Real Facts About Real Dinosaurs
 
4.3
"Dinosaurs Are Not Extinct by Drew Sheneman is a short, illustrated nonfiction book introducing children to one of the more..."
Space Maps
 
5.0
"SPACE MAPS is a seriously cool oversized book with tons of information about the universe, planets, stars, our exploration, and..."
Curious About Mammals
 
4.0
"CURIOUS ABOUT MAMMALS is a board book that presents some basic facts about mammals alongside realistic illustrations. It starts with..."
Our Dogs, Ourselves
 
4.7
"Ms. Horowitz is a scientist who studies dogs and who has written several books about dogs and their behavior, including..."
Blood and Germs: The Civil War Battle Against Wounds and Disease (Medical Fiascoes)
 
5.0
"One of the enduring conundrums of readers advisory I have is this: how do I get books about war to..."
What Can You See? At Night
 
5.0
"WHAT CAN YOU SEE? AT NIGHT is a delightful die-cut board book that peeks through to show all sorts of..."
I Can Code: If/Then
 
3.7
"I CAN CODE: IF/THEN is a book that tries to distill coding concepts to a toddler level. The book takes..."
I Promise You
 
3.5
"I PROMISE YOU is a lovely picture book read of a message between caregiver and child. The book promises the..."
Pocket Piggies: Christmas!
 
4.0
"POCKET PIGGIES: CHRISTMAS! is an adorable photo collection of miniature pigs in Christmas scenes. The text creates some rhymes, but..."