Clarence Publishing, p/b, £5.99, www.clarence-publishing.co.uk
Reviewed by Katy O’Dowd
‘My brain was saying one thing and my heart was saying another. One thing they both agreed on: war would either be the making or breaking of me.’
Darla Stone is an ordinary seventeen year old who finds that her life is not so nuclear after all when she discovers that she has the power to control the elements. Not only that, but she must become a powerful force in a long-raging war between the Night Worshippers and the Soldiers of the Light. In order to protect her family, she emigrates to Dawn Island where battle, danger and romance await. But ruthlessly training to save the human race could end her life.
Elemental magic, romance and war. Fantasy. A kick-ass heroine dealing with ordinary life which turns into something rather less ordinary. All ingredients for a great read, wouldn’t you say?
Dawn Island is Emma-Louise Marriott’s first book – there is to be a follow-up, Dusk Island – and it has a really neat premise. The writing is fresh, vibrant, and young. The plot is slick with some unexpected elements (pardon the pun) that will keep you wanting to read on.
And Dawn Island is fast. Very fast. It races along. You’re on page 46 and when you next look down you’re on page 173.
Now don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy a speedy read which keeps things moving, with no lag and action that leaves you breathless. However, at times I found myself being a little confused and backtracking a few pages to try to clear things up that I might have missed. For example, I would have loved a bit more about the training on the island, and to have had some of the characters explained to me, as a reader, a bit more fully. The few grammatical glitches are easy to overlook, and to be fair, Dawn Island is full of modern parlance so these may have been intentional on the part of the author.
That said, Dawn Island is a ripping yarn, a full-on action/adventure style fantasy, with a great heroine and strong supporting cast. What’s more, Darla is a likeable lead, and you can’t help but empathise with her as she battles something far bigger than herself. A really enjoyable read (with quite the cliff-hanger ending) and an assured, impressive start from a debut writer.