Lei and the Invisible Island (Lei and the Legends 2)

Lei and the Invisible Island (Lei and the Legends 2)
Age Range
Release Date
June 04, 2024
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An exciting follow-up to Lei and the Fire Goddess features a mysterious, invisible island, dangerous spirits, and a newcomer who does not need Lei's help...or does she?

It turns out that curses are real.

After saving her best friend and ancestral guardian, Kaipo, from Pele the fire goddess’s traps and successfully preventing lava from destroying her tūtū’s house, all Lei wants to do is take a nap. The only problem? Kaipo’s ʻaumakua pendant is missing, and without it, he will soon rot . . . emotionally and physically.

So Lei, Kaipo, the shapeshifting bat Ilikea, and newcomer Kaukahi—a fiercely independent fashionista—set off on a journey to an invisible island where they hope to find Kaipo’s pendant. To get there, they’ll have to jump off the edge of their world, contend with sharks, and cross an ocean. And when they arrive? The crew realizes that the missing pendant is the least of their problems. For there are evil spirits gathering, and they’re out for blood.

In this exciting follow-up to Lei and the Fire Goddess, Malia Maunakea crafts a tale about friendship, family, culture, and what it means to forgive each other and yourself.

Editor review

1 review
Immersed in the Hawaiian culture
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The main conflict involves Lei’s family’s aumakua, their ancestral guardian, as Kaipo may rot away after losing his pendant. Lei lives in Colorado so she’s still learning about her Hawaiian heritage during her visit to the islands. Kaipo is reluctant to help Lei find the invisible island since he doesn’t want her to risk her life to help him. Also, grumpiness and lack of cooperation are signs of rotting which causes Kaipo to dampen Lei’s mood and hinder her efforts. Shaky connections between characters present a wide variety of feelings and conflicted relationships and Lei struggles to navigate the murky emotional waters. The conflict involving Kaipo’s lost pendant is resolved halfway through the book but Lei inadvertently creates another major crisis in the process.
Everyone knows about the beauty of Hawaii but using its culture as the setting for a novel is not commonly done. The characters frequently use Hawaiian vocabulary that adds authenticity to the story. These terms aren’t limited to individual words as characters sometimes use the Hawaiian language in phrases or sentences. The story includes Hawaiian geography, food, and music and the plot includes various gods. Pele was the main antagonist in the first book and the fire goddess returns in the later chapters. Lei’s interactions with her family, aumakua, friends, and other characters communicate a strong sense of Hawaiian community and heritage.
The cast of characters is comprised of unique personalities to create entertaining moments for readers. A highlight is a wind spirit called Makani who behaves as a loyal friend to Lei. Makani is invisible air and can’t speak but they communicate emotions by soft breezes to a cheek or strong gusts that can almost knock someone off their feet. Ilikea is the aumakua for another family but she’s also Lei’s friend. Lei agrees to help her develop a more meaningful bond with Kaukahi but that’s a very daunting task. Ilikea and Kaipo take the form of teenage girl and boy but they can also transform into a bat and owl, respectfully.
What didn’t work as well:
The book is based on Hawaiian folklore and many cultural terms are used right away. Readers may be confused by some of the references as they can’t always be interpreted by using context. I was forced to look up some terms I couldn’t figure out. Perhaps the vocabulary is better explained in the previous book, which I haven’t read.
The final verdict:
The conflict in the second half of the book is more dramatic than the first. Elements of friendship are explored and Lei battles an internal struggle to bring peace and balance to her own life. This book will appeal to readers interested in Hawaii or other cultures and I recommend you give it a shot.
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