This fantasy novel focuses on 12-year-old orphan Ellie, skilled in drawing and manuscript illumination and blessed with the gift of true Sight. Aboard a flying ship bound for a training school, she and her companions are enlisted to help save doomed islanders and fight the forces of the Enemy. Couching a fantasy novel in Christian symbolism, Narnia-style, can be awkward or didactic, but here the allegory is handled subtly and without distracting from dramatic, steadily building adventures set in a vividly imagined world.
Date Submitted: July 20, 2016
The Illuminator's Gift (The Voyages of the Legend) by Alina Sayre is the magical story of an orphan girl called Ellie. She has been adopted a few times, but was always unlucky with the families and got returned to orphanages. And now she's close to turning 13 - the age where she has to leave the orphanage as nobody would adopt a 13-year-old. Fortunately for her, the manager of the orphanage has an exciting offer for Ellie and her friend: they can join the Vestigia Roi, part of a story that Ellie only thought of as a legend. She joins the crew of a flying ship. The ship was just supposed to take her to an academy, but as fate would have it, the crew of the ship is needed elsewhere for rescue missions. Will Ellie and her new friends ever make it to the academy or is the rescue mission more dangerous than they can handle?
I just loved The Illuminator's Gift (The Voyages of the Legend) by Alina Sayre. It is described as a book for children, but even as a 32-year-old reader I was immediately drawn into this fantastic world. I loved how the book was written, and I think that people who write fantasy for younger readers have a great way with words, and are able to create such wonderful worlds into which you can dive. The book gave me great joy, and I loved living in Ellie's world for a few hours. The characters are all unique (and you even felt bad for the spider!); the book is a real page turner.
38. BEST FIRST BOOK - CHAPTER BOOK
GOLD: The Sword of Demelza, by J.E. Rogers (Acadia Publishing Group)
SILVER: The Illuminator’s Gift, by Alina Sayre (CreateSpace)
BRONZE: Call of the Sun Child, by Francesca G. Varela (Homebound Publications)