Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Separated

The Separated, by Troon Harrison


The Separated is listed as the first book in the Tales of Terre series. However, the book works nicely as a standalone. We are introduced in the book to three teens with incredible powers and destinies who live in the mountains of the fictional land of Verde. First is Vita, the keeper, who finds herself to young for her duties. Then there is Giovanni, a pirate boy with a pure heart and no desire to follow in the family business of pirating. Finally, is Marina, the daughter of the Sea Witch who feels out of place in her family business as well, and longs for the land.

So, what is a Keeper, you ask. The Keeper is a young woman whose duty it is to perform certain magics at the Equinox and Soltice to protect the mythical animal - the Corno d'Oro - from harm and from discovery. The Corno d'Oro's continued life is crucial to maintaining the balance of the world. In this story there is an evil ruler of the land who wants to bring the Corno d'Oro under his own rule in order to gain even more power over the land and the people. His daughter becomes a spy and helps to tempt the Keeper.

So, the story is good. There is a good balance of female and male characters, so I think both genders will read. There is also a good mix of war, romance, magic, and mythology. However, the beginning was slow. The first 40-50 pages were a slog. Then the action picked up and all of a sudden I was halfway through. Another small problem is the ending - all of the action wraps up a little to quickly and easily in the last 20 pages or so. There's a little too much of the Deus ex Machina for my taste. We are also not left with any tension to make us long for the next book. Everything seems to wrapped up happily.

That said, I liked it. It is great to see some good fantasy for teens coming out in the Canadian market - especially with non-Barbie girls. I'm looking forward contentedly to the next installment in The Tales of Terre.


Maggie said...

You know, I'm excited to finally see some good fantasy coming out of Canada too! I'm reading Carrie Mac's 'The Droughtlanders' and am quite enjoying it! :)

MadJenny said...

Oooh! That one's on my reading list too - but I haven't got a copy of it yet. Looks like you're at the forefront of a trend!