Whilst I’m reading a book ‘on contract’ for an author, I’ll write this small review to keep the blog active whilst I read! The Divide trilogy is a series I first read as a child, where I borrowed it from the library. The fact that it’s still on my bookshelf, about six years later says something (my own copies that is, I didn’t steal them!). They are for a younger generation than most of the books I review, probably early-secondary school children (11-13) but they’ve a charm that makes me want to read them over and over.
The Divide – Felix is a boy of thirteen. He has a heart problem that has held him back for his whole life, and his parents constantly fear for his safety. Whilst on holiday in Costa Rica he passes out over ‘the Divide’, a watershed where water flows to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Waking, he finds himself somewhere he’d never imagined – a place where legendary creatures are real, and humans the things of legend. He meets Ironclaw, a Brazzle (Griffin) and Betony a tangle-child (elf). He finds out from the brittlehorn (unicorn) leader that there may be a cure for him in that world – so Felix sets off on a quest to find that cure.
Return to the Divide – Felix is happy, he’s cured and home again. Until Snakeweek, the antagonist of the first book turns up at his door, and turns his parents to stone! Then, Felix has no choice but to help Snakeweed get home, for he must also go to the world across the Divide to find the cure before it destroys his world, for anything that touches his parents’ statues is also petrified, and so it spreads..
Jinx on the Divide – Felix is back at school. That is, until Rhino – a bully at his school – is kidnapped by a genie from a lamp Felix kept from across the Divide. The genie demands to be taken home and given physical form, else it won’t give Rhino back! Meanwhile, inside the box, Rhino has found a box that gives him any of his worldly desires – if only he’ll say little magic words that wreak havoc on both sides of the Divide!
Ah, that’s the problem with series reviews, summarising the plot is monstrous! Anyway, it’s all done now so let’s go on to actually look at the plot! Let’s be honest, it’s not a complex one and there are good reasons for that. It’s aimed at the younger end of young-adult fantasy, so a complex plotline would ruin the book for the majority of it’s readers. I actually like how simple it is, it’s a carefree and easy read! It’s funny and light, something you can enjoy that you don’t have to dig deep into. I know I’ve said that I love the opposite, real nitty-gritty books, and it’s true, I like a bit of the both. There aren’t many sub-plots and behind-the-scenes goings on, it’s all there in front of the camera, as it were. I love it, it’s an innocent story of a young lad trying to find a cure for his life-threatening disease in a fairy world. It’s the sort of book that has me keening and remembering with fondness the childish tales of knights in armour. If you want an easy read, this trilogy will make you happy. It probably won’t take you too long to read, but I think it’d be nice for, say, a holiday read. There are some genuinely funny bits too, bits that still make me laugh when I read them now.
The characters are cute and charming. Sure, they’re not the deepest, most soulfull folks you’ll have met on your travels through fantasy, but that doesn’t matter. That’s not to say they’re bland though, they’ve got distinct and interesting personalities, just not ones that’ll set you thinking for hours upon end. I’ve got to say that without a doubt, Ironclaw is my favourite character – he’s hugely witty and hugely clever, which makes for a hilarious combination. Betony is an emotional lass, quick to anger, and folly perhaps, but she becomes Felix’s best friend. Their relationship is a strong one, and true. Again back to innocence, it’s not a relationship fouled by the dark things they go through (there aren’t really that many) nor does Felix suddenly propose his love for his, it’s a charming child’s friendship. It’s sweet. The characters are believably, even if the bad guy is a bit generic. That fickly ol’ Snakeweed, we all come to love him for his nasty tricks.
Perhaps I’m biased. Perhaps it’s just a series I loved in my childhood and can’t think but to love it now, but they are lovely books. There aren’t deep messages or harsh words. A boy goes on a short series of adventures and saves the day more than once. Now, I can’t say fairer than that, myself. It’s a series I’d recommend picking up for a light read, as I think it’s one you should read. Funny and light-hearted.
I’m going to give The Divide Trilogy an 8/10. Obviously as an adult fantasy book, it stands nowhere near that score, but it isn’t adult fantasy. It’s a young-young-adult book, and it’s a beautiful one.