The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

Waffles is such an easy cat to photograph, mostly because she is sleeping.
Waffles is such an easy cat to photograph, mostly because she is sleeping.

Why I Read It: I felt like something light, an easy read.

Where I Got It:

Who I Recommend This To: If you enjoy children’s adventure books, this is pretty decent.

Narrator: Aasne Vigesaa

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (2005)

Length: 5 CDs

Series: Book 1 The Land of Elyon

It was cute.

Oh, OK. This is a book review site and you all deserve more than that. Well, most of you anyway.

Set in the fantasy land of Elyon, our 12 year old heroine (Alexa Daley) is precocious, independent, and has a tendency to inadvertently break stuff. She also saves the day through perseverance and cleverness. She lives in a world of connected cities that elected to wall out nature some decades ago. Spending the summer in Bridewell with her father, she can just barely catch a glimpse of the forest beyond the walls if she stands in just the right place. Her fascination leads her to an unexpected realm of talking animals and a dangerous plot by a group of once-upon-a-time criminals living in the woods.

While Patrick Carman‘s book had a few twists and turns, it was still fairly predictable. Alexa seemed to be the only kid around (which I found odd, but didn’t really detract from the story), and a small clever person was needed by the animals to sabotage the Evil Plan. While certain characteristics of some people, like the pesky rule-oriented Mr. Kotcher, were rather exaggerated, I was pleased that not everyone was as they seemed. I also enjoyed watching Alexa work pretty hard for each step of the adventure; very little was given to her.

In the end, the good guys win. Congrats. If I was younger, it probably would have been more exciting for me. I can see parents putting this on for the kids for a long road trip and enjoying bits of it themselves.

The audio was well done. The narrator, Aasne Vigesaa, was a great fit for Alexa’s voice and I especially loved her animal voices (yeah for squirrels!). I wish I could find a website for her, but Brilliance Audio lists several other books performed by her.

What I Liked: Starred a heroine; plot twists; talking animals; an intense moment or two with Mr. Kotcher were some of my favorite scenes; the cover.

What I Disliked: Overall, a bit predictable.