Solar Nation by Erica Blaney

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Solar Nation by Erica Blaney

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A satisying conclusion to this two-part sci-fi fantasy with environmental themes. There's a very charming element of redemption that is reminiscent of Narnia. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 353 Date: March 2009
Publisher: Hodder
ISBN: 0340950331

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We left Solly and Lalune finally together, with Lalune having escaped from the horrors of the cyberclinic. Her escape came too late to save her sight though, her eyes had already been harvested, and poor Lalune, the moon child is blind. But even together, they form only two of the three prophesied holders of the Key of Being. The third, Seachran, we meet for the first time. He is a stammering cripple from Kloster Hallow, on the other side of the Ne'Lethe, and he has had psychic visions all his life.

Together, they must unlock the Janus Tree's portal, and lead the people of Clandoi to a new life.

Solar Nation is a very satisying conclusion to this two-part sci-fi fantasy with environmental themes. The issue of cloning and organ-harvesting continues and in this book it affects Solly rather than Lalune, as his entire body comes under threat. However, the main thrust of the narrative concentrates on the quest to complete the Key of Being in time to open the portal and rescue the planet's inhabitants. Blaney's Clandoi is a fully-formed world of environmental extremes and it's very vivid, without too much in the way of tiresome world-building excursions. There's a little bit of a clunky plot-resolving scene or two involving Lalune and the origins of her Appaloosian race with its cat's eyes and dappled skin, but it didn't get in the way of tension building satsifactorily.

There's a very sweet love story between Solly and Lalune underlying the main plot and, even as a world-weary adult, I felt completely engaged by it. There's also a wealth of multi-dimensional supporting characters - the spoiled, but ultimately heroic Etolantie and her counterpart, the reserved but spiritual Seachran are stand-outs, as is the wonderful creation Pruppus, who is a talking fungus.

The climax has a deeply attractive air of redemption about it, which reminded me greatly of Narnia. All things are possible, if we only have faith, and if we only try to do the right thing. I don't mind admitting that I shed a tear or two at the end. Any thoughtful junior fantasy fans aged about eight or nine to twelve or thirteen will love it, and it's recommended by Bookbag.

My thanks to the nice people at Hodder for sending the book.

They might also enjoy Garth Nix's Seventh Tower sequence, which has similarly extreme environments. Mark Robson's Firestorm series will appeal to fans of fantasy quests. Older children might like The Declaration by Gemma Malley, a much more realistic fantasy, but one which also questions some ways in which science might be used in the future.

Buy Solar Nation by Erica Blaney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Solar Nation by Erica Blaney at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Solar Nation by Erica Blaney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Solar Nation by Erica Blaney at Amazon.com.


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