Review: The Islands of Chaldea by Diane Wynne Jones/Ursula Jones

Fantasy, Recommendations, Review
Image from Goodreads
Title: The Islands of Chaldea
Author: Diane Wynne Jones/Ursula Jones
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: Feb 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads
Aileen was supposed to grow up magical – just like the other women in her family. Unfortunately, she’s just found out that the magic seems to have skipped a generation… but that’s not her biggest problem right now.
In her world, there are four Islands of Chaldea. The largest and most magical island has been cut off from the other three for decades – and is slowly draining the magic from them.
But now a prophecy has come to light. Someone from Aileen’s island will gather a man from each of the three islands, bring down the magical barrier, and unite them with the fourth island again. And according to the king, that someone is Aileen’s Aunt – who insists on dragging Aileen along. AND the boy Aileen is sure she’ll marry (one day); AND the local boy with more brawn then brain. Someone seems to want to stop them too… someone with an interest in keeping the Islands apart. But still, with magic on their side, nothing can go wrong. Right?
Young wise woman, Aileen, dreams of following in her aunts footsteps. Aileen’s aunt was known throughout the remaining Islands of Chaldea for her remarkable knowledge of all things occurring frond her. However, soon there is a problem, ever since the barrier was erected around the island of Logra the guardians have been divided, resulting in the magic of the islands fading. Aileen and her aunt are sent to bring down the barrier and reunite the guardians. If that wasn’t hard enough, someone is plotting against them, determined to ensure they fail in their quest.
The main character, Aileen, is a strong female character. Determined to succeed in her quest, even when her aunt is taken ill and she must continue the quest independently. Along her journey with her sick aunt, Aileen encounters long lost family as well as uncovering the whereabouts of her long-lost father and Prince Alasdair.  Adding further importance to her crusade.
My favorite part of the story was when Aileen meets the King, showing that owning land and having wealth does not prevent ignorance. The clear differentiation between the good and bad characters stood out at this point whereas the difference was rather vague in the other parts of the plot. In one respect this is a good thing as it keeps the reader captivated with the characters and gives the narrative an interesting twist. It is also at this point Aileen’s character development is exceptionally noticeable.
I did, however, feel that the ending was a little predictable. I have read a few books by this author and that may be the reason I found the ending a little easy to guess, her other books tend to have the same kinds of twists. I would recommend this book as it is interesting and grabs your attention with likable characters you can easily identify with.

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