Island Hopping to Nowhere
by Renee Scattergood
This is another coming-of-age fantasy-adventure. Therefore, a great deal of emphasis is on the main character training to be The Chosen One. Yes, I suppose if a young lady’s destiny is to fight evil, she would want to train for it. Still, a feeling of dread comes over me whenever I come across a book that gives so much importance to the subject. Usually, those scenes are just plain boring.
In “Shadow Stalker”, those scenes consist of being tortured by creepy guys with electric prods… because being tortured is a proven training technique, right? Auren was raised by Kado, a Shadow Stalker with the ability to travel into the shadow world. Now, as the evil Galvadi Empire attacks the outer islands, Auren finds she is The Chosen One, here called the Delohi-Saqu, is a kind of Super-Shadow Stalker. Now, if she is to defeat the Evil Emperor, she must quickly learn all about the shadow world that Kado never bothered to mention in her first eighteen years. And in all this she finds a boyfriend, Etan. But boyfriends are forbidden if you’re The Chosen One, naturally.
The world-building in this book is certainly different. The planet has two moons and seems to consist of groups of islands, but no continents, so it is clearly not Earth. Some of the islands are inhabited by savages. And the names are different, although some may sound Japanese, like Kado. But they have washing machines and cell phones and they drive cars. They wear t-shirts and track pants. Their technology is a little advanced of ours (the cars hover off the ground or water), but it seems odd to be thrown into a world that is so much like ours and yet so different.
The book is well written, but not florid or enchanting. There are only a few grammatical errors (although one is in the first paragraph). Here, the plot and characters must hold the reader.
For young readers, this series might well engage and they will find Auren a likeable heroine. But they’ll have to read the entire series to get anywhere.