When I spotted this book I was just instantly in love, then I saw that it was a new book by Katie O’Neill, and that was it for me, I just had to have this one.
This is an absolutely stunning book featuring magic, magic creatures, love, mourning and loss, warming up of the earth and how overfishing damages more than you may think, choices, and more. At times, yes, it did feel a bit too much, and I have to be honest that I was kind of rolling my eyes when we came to the damaged reef. Don’t get me wrong, I am really worried about nature, and it is terrible what we, as humans, do, but it just seemed weird to add it to a book so filled with magic. It kind of threw me out of the story. Especially as at times it seems a bit preachy.
But I guess, now that I read the entire book that eventually it all meshes together and it all becomes one thing that clicks together as a puzzle. But when it first came up, I just wasn’t that happy about it.
When we first meet Lana she is on her way to help out her aunt after a storm hit her aunt’s village. She wants to help rebuild, and of course memories of her mom pop up. It is going to be a tough couple of days/weeks. Fixing not only her heart, but also the town she loves.
I instantly liked Lana, I loved how strong she was, and how she instantly took care of that little hurt aquicorn. How she kept talking to him, feeding him, giving him all the love. And he was also someone she could talk with about how she felt. About her mom, about her aunt, about her dad (he is doing his best, but she just wants to stay in the village), and later on also about the storms and the reef that is damaged. She shows how strong she is nearer to the end, she really stands up for what she believes in, and that takes courage.
Then there is the story about Lana’s mom. What happened to her, how it broke not only Lana and her father, but also Lana’s mom sister. I am not sure how long ago it all happened (at times it seems months or even years, but sometimes it feels like it just happened). I loved how the author also showed us bits and pieces of Lana mom’s past. What happened to her.
And we also have Mae (Lana’s mom sister) who has fallen in love with the queen (I would at least call her that) of the sea (and the queen with Mae). Though of course they can’t be easily together, it would mean that either one of them would have to give up something (and I am not even sure if our queen can live on the land if she would have to choose).
Given the blurb I had expected a lot more magic, a lot more aquicorns, but Lana just discovers one of them, wounded, and then, because they are looking for that little one, another aquicorn. And later on she met another 2 or 3 (during one of the ending scenes). But yeah, given the blurb, I had expected a totally different story. I am still happy with the story I got, but I wonder who wrote that blurb. There are elements of truth in it, I guess. Here and there. 😛
The art is of course totally fabulous, as expected from Katie O’Neill. Her style is just a fantastic mix of magical, adorable, beautiful.
All in all, even with some elements I didn’t like, this one is highly recommended. It is a beautiful book, at times very sad, filled with magic and bravery.