The Dark Hills Divide (Land of Elyon #1) by Patrick Carman

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: 2005
Synopsis Source: I own this book

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 94/100 or A-


Synopsis: Twelve-year old Alexa Daley is spending another summer in Bridewell with her father. She looks forward to exploring the old lodge where she stays each year, with its cozy library and maze of passages and rooms. She’s also eager to finally solve the mystery of what lies beyond the immense walls that ere built to keep out an unnamed evil that lurks in the forests and The Dark Hills–an evil the townspeople are still afraid of.


As Alexa begins to unravel the truth about what lies outside the protective barrier she’s lived behind all her life, she discovers a strange and ancient enchantment. Armed with an unexpected new power, Alexa exposes a danger that could destroy everything she holds dear–and change The Land of Elyon forever.

My Thoughts: I’m usually not a reader of middle-grade fantasy, yet The Dark Hills Divide is a novel I’ve enjoyed throughout my childhood. The book begins with twelve-year old Alexa Daley and her father. Readers will notice the strong bond between the two as the story progresses. To me, this is an important aspect of the book. Alexa proves herself a caring daughter, but also and independent adventurer. She deeply loves her father, yet she is not afraid to stray away from him at times to satisfy her curiosity and inquisitiveness. It is these characteristics that propel young Alexa to solving the great mysteries surrounding her home.

The spirit of adventure is obviously the prevailing theme of this fantasy. The demolition of the immense walls surrounding Alexa’s home signifies breaking away from safety and taking risks. Alexa herself takes many risks to save her home and in the process discovers a magical secret that will indefinitely change her life. I found her character bold, daring, loving, and a loyal friend. Her actions attest to her loyalty. Everything the does is for the benefit of somebody she loves or to help someone in need. The author did a fine job in constructing a suitable persona for her character.

The Land of Elyon is a very mysterious setting for the events happening in the story. The map provided in the front allows readers to foreshadow where Alexa’s destiny will take her next. It alludes to coming adventures.  

This is a fast-paced novel that I would deem most suitable for a middle-grade audience. Although the writing suggests such, an adult could still enjoy the shroud of intrigue and resourceful characters that fill its pages. Indeed, The Dark Hills Divide is a great introduction to a surely captivating series that anyone should like.

http://www.patrickcarman.com/enter/elyon/

Carman, Patrick. (2005) The Dark Hills Divide. United States: Scholastic Press.

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