|Submitted by Craig Scott |
(Mar 08, 2007)
The Floating Island is the first book in Elizabeth Haydonís new fantasy series the Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme. The series is set in the same world as the Symphony of Ages but at an earlier time period and is aimed at a young adult audience. The book is written
under the pretense that Haydon has discovered these lost journals and has restored them.
The Ven in question is a young Nain (the equivalent of a dwarf or a gnome) who is famous for having written two important historical texts in the Symphany of Ages timeline. Many of the chapters begin with an exert from Venís journals and then continue in the more traditional third person manner. These exerts also occur at other important parts of the story.
The book begins with Ven imprisoned in the dungeon of the castle Elysian, having been accused of a theft, and must write his side of the story for the king who will decided his fate. The events leading up to this point are then told, beginning with Venís fiftieth birthday (the coming of age for a Nain) and his first inspection of a ship at sea that goes horribly wrong. A number of fairly complex issues are dealt with convincingly throughout the book including the racist attitude of some of the human characters have towards Ven.
There a number of illustrations of the some of the more remarkable things Ven encounters that he drew in his dairies (masterfully drawn by Brett Helquist). Haydon has no trouble in adjusting her writing style for a younger audience but by no means is it too simplistic and fans of her earlier works (myself included) will enjoy it thoroughly.