Beastlands, Race to Frostfall Mountain by Jess French

 

Jess French’s master world-building skills bring the fictional island of Ramoa, the setting of her new children’s novel Beastlands – Race to Frostfall Mountain to life with great flair. Involving all of the reader’s senses, the author makes the vastly different terrains of the island’s Realms leap off the page.

But most intriguing and immersive of all are the mysterious Beastlands, the wild part of the island the three protagonist have been taught to fear.

Kayla the Skyrider cadet, Alethea the healer, and Rustus the failed Atari warrior each have their own reasons for venturing into these uncharted lands but, as their paths collide in the wilderness, their fates are thrown together. As they get to know each other and the land around them, they begin to question everything they have been taught about the Beastlands and the dreaded Scourge – a deadly disease that is sweeping through the Realms and touching each of their lives in more ways than one.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the children get to know each other and begin to question the societies they have grown up in. Though Alethea and Rustus come from the same Realm, Alethea comes from such poverty and hunger and Rustus from such privilege and abundance that they might as well be from completely different Realms, like Kayla is.

Despite their differences, one thing gradually becomes clear to them all; none of them has been told the truth about the Beastlands and the deadly Scourge that is plaguing the island. But finding the truth becomes a common goal that is central to their own individual quests.

Filled with astonishing creatures and quirky characters, this beautifully-written, fast-paced fantasy adventure has many layers to uncover, from societal beliefs and familial expectations to the importance of respecting the environment and the creatures that share it with us.

The stunning cover by George Ermos gives readers a tantalising glimpse of the gripping peril within the pages. A brilliant read for fantasy lovers aged 9-99!

 

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