Friday, June 25, 2010

Phantom Island: Wind by Krissi Dallas

I chose to read this book for two reasons. First, it was written by a friend of Greg's, which made me curious. Second, it was fantasy. I am always a sucker for that. The only reason I didn't jump to read it right away was because it was self-published, and as a total book snob I tend to stay away from self-published books. However, after resisting for awhile I finally gave in and ordered my copy from Amazon. It arrived, and I managed to devour it in a few days even with the time demands of a new baby in the house, proving to myself that even Katelyn isn't strong enough to cure me of my hopeless addiction to fiction.

Wind is the first in (I assume) a four-part series. We are introduced to Whitnee Terradorra, the main character, and her two best friends, Morgan and Caleb, as they arrive at Camp Fusion where they are going to be mentors for the summer. The three met at the camp after sixth grade, have been inseparable ever since, and are now back to help troubled kids begin to find healing over the course of the summer. It is not long before Whitnee and her friends find much more than they bargained for, when they cross to the forbidden property across the river and suddenly find themselves on an Island that may or may not be a part of our world. There, they learn about life forces and prophecies, and Whitnee discovers that there is more to her life and her history than she had even guessed before. The story is full of lessons in friendship, trust, romance, and even a little magic (or at least something very like it). The ending is satisfactory, although there are plenty of ends left to pick up in the next book: Water. Like any good fan, I am now eagerly awaiting the next installment.

In spite of my snobbery when it comes to writing quality, I was favorably impressed with this book. Krissi writes very well, and I was completely caught up in the story after just a few chapters. One of my major issues with self-published books is the frequent and unfortunate lack of editing. Although Wind could have benefited from a little more polish, it did not suffer for the lack of it. I never had the unpleasant but all too frequent experience of being distracted by the story because of the writing which I've felt even while reading traditionally published fiction. Take Mercedes Lackey and Terry Brooks, for example. Mercedes Lackey is a good enough storyteller to almost make up for the fact that she sometimes writes poorly and apparently has a lousy editor, and Terry Brooks is just annoying. But I digress...

Altogether, I thought Wind was a well-written, imaginative, and engaging piece of youth fiction. It is pretty light-hearted, not too dark but not all cotton candy and rainbows, either. The world-crafting is excellent, the pace is good, there is some enjoyable humor and definitely plenty of conflict, mystery, and teen angst. I definitely recommend it for fans of the genre, and wish the author the best of luck in her future endeavors.

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