Orphaned as a child, twelve year old Mara works as a servant for the powerful Lady of the Tides by diving into the murky sea for ancient artifacts supposedly containing residual magic from the magical Founders who built their beautiful city thousands of years ago While diving with her friend Izzy, Mara begins hearing songs reminiscent of the songs her mother used to sing to her, leading her to some strange bones that appear to be singing to her Instead of her mistress being pleased with this discovery and being given the opportunity to study magic as she hoped, Mara is interrogated and asked to perform an extremely dangerous and seemingly impossible task to break into the ancient Founders fortress, the Winter Blade, believed to be bewitched by numerous spells, enchantments, and full of magical secrets left behind by the Founders and the power hungry mages masters that have lived there What she discovers brings danger and uncovers secrets, not only concerning the Founders and the powerful resident mage, but also surprising revelations about Mara and her heritage Written for tweens, this intriguing and well imagined fantasy will be enjoyed by everyoneSharyn H Marathon County Public LibraryFind this book in our library catalog. You can see my full review here This story was that I thought it d be and it made my heart happy The world building and lore was interesting Some aspects of the magic system were a bit confusing, but not to the point where I couldn t follow the story Yet it was the main character that captured my heart Mara was such a relatable lead ambition yet insecure, caring, smart I felt her loneliness and her hunger to make a name for herself I was strangely emotional, especially towards the end It was really good.06 25 This story made me weirdly emotional I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review In A Foggy Archipelago Called The City Of Islands, Magic Drifts On The Air As Songs Twelve Year Old Mara Has Always Been Fascinated By The Spell Songs And Dreams Of Becoming A Great Mage Orphaned As A Little Girl, Mara Was Taken In By A Bone Mage Called Bindy But When Bindy Was Killed By A Rival, Mara Lost Both Her Home And Her Best Chance To Learn MagicNow Mara Is A Servant For The Powerful Lady Of The Tides She Earns Her Keep By Diving In The Murky Ocean, Searching For Magical Treasures That Might Please The Lady Mara Still Yearns To Learn Magic, But It S Hard For A Poor, Orphaned Servant To Dream When The Path To Becoming A Mage Is Open To Only An Elite FewThen One Day, While Diving For The Lady, Mara Finds The Skeletons Of Strange Hybrid Creatures A Lizard With Wings, A Horse With Horns, And Many , The Likes Of Which Have Not Existed In The City For Centuries The Entire Trove Of Bones Is Humming With A Powerful Spell SongMara Is Convinced The Bones Will Earn Her The Opportunity To Study Magic But Rather Than Rewarding Her Discovery, The Lady Gives Mara A Challenge To Learn Where The Magical Bones Came From By Sneaking Into The Winter Blade, An Island Fortress Ruled By The Very Same Sorcerer Who Killed Bindy Years AgoWhat Mara Finds Will Reveal Chilling Truths About Her Own Past, As Well As Secrets About The History Of Her Beloved City That Are Dangerous And Magical Than She Had Ever Imagined The magic The adventure The world building Um, yes, I love this book Mara is such a fun, curious, and daring main character who faces a complicated world filled with secrets She not only navigates her way through this magically complex world, but she finds her voice and the inner strength in the best way possible I was so impressed not only with the touching and thoroughly entertaining story telling, but the important messaging woven into this tale Highly, highly recommend Fun middle grade adventure fantasy story I enjoyed Mara a lot plucky but not perfectly fearless, resourceful, caring of her friends tempered by a healthy dose of self involvement Liked the worldbuilding a lot and wish we could ve seen of the mage society, though there wasn t really time space within this book My only qualm is that the book was a bit crowded with characters, especially sort of antagonists I liked the two main Big Bads, but there were a few other forces all working against Mara that, for me, ended up taking away from the conflict with the two Big Bads. Kali Wallace creates a stunning and unusual world in this fantasy that is at once bound up in myth and legend and grounded in the gritty reality of fish markets and hardscrabble village life Mara is a brave, determined, and ultimately thoughtful heroine who both yearns for and fears magic, and is willing to ask difficult questions about the responsibilities that come with power The people that she cares about loyal Fish Hook, caring Izzy, even the stately and distant Lady of the Tides are fully drawn characters, some with their own surprisingly motivations Underlying each of Mara s discoveries is the yearning for family and grief for the loss of her parents and Bindy, the bone mage who took her in as a child In uncovering secrets about the long gone founders of the City of Islands, she also uncovers parts of her own past she might have preferred to stay hidden, and must come to understand a new definition of family. A pleasant fantasy world building but with forgettable characters.The world building was nice and reminded me of Robin Hobb s Realms of the Elderlings, so it was nice but not outstanding for an adult reader a kid would probably have been a little impressed The magic based on songs was a good idea and for once, I d no problems reading the short parts dedicated to songs in other books, I skip them yes I m looking at you boring 1st volume of Lord of the Rings The various magical parts were also well depicted and gave at some points some sense of wonder or danger, depending what Mara was doing, and I enjoyed the time spent in a watery environment If overall the story wasn t boring, it was tinted with a dark mood and felt quite flat for me Mara was involved in some adventures and rescues, but when there was urgency, I found that the story dragged and lacked excitement and when there was plenty of time to developed characters through talks, it wasn t used for it The last part dived in interesting waters, with action and doubts, so this one was at least satisfying The cast was, on paper, interesting, but I already have problems remembering the characters names just after finishing the book, and they were short and easy ones I didn t find the characters really shallow, there were attempts to give them some difficult pasts, but I never connected with Mara, I found her memories repetitive and boring, and the secondary cast was mostly useless due to the few interactions between the characters In summary, good ideas, but a lack on the characterization side, which came a bit as a surprise as I liked a lot the work done for Shallow Graves. City of Islands is a wonderful novel, excellent beyond words It follows the story of Mara, an orphan who had lost both her parents at a young age, then her teacher whom she had grown to love and trust only a few years later, leaving her to the life of diving deep into the sea for artifacts for the Lady of Tides to study, but rarely receiving any praise for her dangerous work When she finds a strange skull, unlike any creature she had ever seen or which had been heard of in than legends and statues for generations, she is sent to find , and then to discover where they had come from This sends her on an adventure which will cause her to question everything she knows about her past, her present, and herself, but ultimately helps her let go of painful memories of the past, and discover the love of her friends and an inner power which will raise her above all expectation ever held for her, even by herself.I loved every moment of this novel The characters were lifelike, with believable motivations and flaws, and the settings and events were rich and well painted I felt as if I was looking in on another universe, watching events as they unfolded, rather than reading a work of fiction I was especially pleased with Wallace s decision to make most of the main characters persons of color, as there are so few non white characters in young adult fiction, and even fewer who take the helm of the adventure rather than being a token sidekick Further, it was a story which kept you on your toes, creating twists and surprises which would have been impossible to predict, but which are supported well enough that they fit right into the progression, making this a book that is impossible to put down This book was beautifully written and a pleasure to read, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience it.Other than a few spelling mistakes and typos which I am sure will be caught and corrected in the official release, and very few of them jarring enough to be disruptive to the flow of the story It is obvious that Wallace has plenty of experience with writing, and knows how to create and tell dynamic tales I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys middle grade fiction and is looking for a story of magic and personal strength unlike any they have read before This book would be especially great for young girls and children of color, showing them that, no matter what background they come from or what obstacles stand in their way, they can find pride in themselves and happiness in their life if they never give up on themselves and do what makes them happy and feels right I will be looking into Kali Wallace s other novels and short stories, as I am very curious what other works she has written which helped shape her as a writer who was able to write City of Islands, and I hope she will write plenty , as I would love to see what other stories she is able to weave from here on out. I don t typically read a lot of middle grade, but after finishing Kali Wallace s CITY OF ISLANDS, I might just start This is a really charming yet suspenseful story about a girl finding her voice, her place, and her confidence in a world full of people who overlook and underestimate her The world building is inventive, both in terms of the fully realized geography and comprehensive mythology, and the story is thrilling, touching, and funny often at the same time.I love books where the main character learns that they can rely on themselves, that sometimes they can be their own hero, and CITY OF ISLANDS will teach that lesson to kids who may feel overwhelmed by current events. I was so glad to read an early copy of Kali Wallace s latest book her first middle grade story I m a big fan of her writing and, with its world of islands, pirates and magic, this one was right up my street I loved the characters loved the fact that none of them are wholly good or bad And the heroine, Mara, has to navigate her way through an increasingly complicated world, and just when you think you know what s going on, everything changes again.A great page turning plot, inventive world building and characters I m missing already I hope we ll see books set in this world because there s plenty of scope to continue Mara s story.
Kali Wallace studied geology and geophysics before she decided she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked researching the real one Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, FSF, Asimov s, Lightspeed Magazine, and Tor.com She is the author of the dark, fantastical teen novels Shallow Graves 2016 and The Memory Trees 2017 , as well as the middle grade fantasy adventu
- 336 pages
- City of Islands
- Kali Wallace
- 13 October 2019 Kali Wallace