Number of pages: 351
Started: 29 April 2007
Finished: 4 May 2007
Summary (taken from blurb):
After restoring the magical balance of the rocking stone, Gemma begins her search for the remarkable valley that she has saved - and longs to be reunited with Arden.
During their travels together, she had been shown the different futures which could exist for her world, and must now decide how to use her unreliable wizardry for the best. She knows that the Guild in Great Newport must be overthrown, and cannot bear to consider the alternative. But other, unforeseen forces are at play on the southern continent - and what is the Lightless Kingdom?
This is Book 2 of the Unbalanced Earth trilogy. Many years ago I randomly picked up the first book in this trilogy and was hooked from the first page. I've since re-read this trilogy many times. Outside of this author and Tolkien I've read few, if any, other fantasy novels; not because I have anything against the genre but because I wouldn't know where to start. I think it can be very hit and miss with fantasy (it irritates me when authors feel they have to use the strangest, most unpronounceable names for their characters and places - it feels like they're trying too hard).
Happily, this book is unpretentious and it's just a good, fun read - nothing too heavy. The heroine of the book is Gemma, who receives a calling to go the southern continent, where she discovers she has magical powers and must learn to use them to overthrow a powerful evil force. The characters are diverse and likeable (well, except for the evil ones of course).
I have a bit of a soft spot for these books; I guess they are 'comfort' books to me, and ones that I turn to every couple of years so I can revisit the characters and their adventures. I would recommend them if you can find them! I re-read the first book at the end of last year, and will re-read the third book shortly (probably won't have much of a review for that one - this review pretty much covers it all).
A funny anecdote regarding this story: in the first book, Gemma meets up with a tribe of meerkats who become her familiar; she can communicate with them via thought. I was about 12 when I first read this book and I had no idea that meerkats actually existed. I thought they were just a cute animal made up by the author (it is a fantasy novel after all!) Imagine my surprise when I went to Taronga Zoo one day and walked up to an enclosure to find it full of real live meerkats! I was so happy! I think that's where my love of meerkats has come from - one moment they were a mythical creature to me and the next moment they were real!