Publisher: AuthorHouse (self-published)
by: Krissi Dallas
Category: Teen, Fantasy
I'll leave the real debate about self-publishing to another blog. I will say that I'm not usually a fan of books that have been published by authors. Though the opinions of self-publishing are changing, the fact is that nine times out of ten, they're still just not good enough to spend $18.00 on.
The author of Phantom Island approached me to do a review. I told her that I'd be happy to, but she wasn't guaranteed a positive opinion on it. She agreed and that was that. I guess, it's lucky that I won't be giving a negative review...
It took me a bit to get into the story once I started it. I'm not a fan of prologues. I more or less skipped the one in this book and didn't feel like I missed out on anything. After that, I did still have some issues getting started. There wasn't much action in the first couple of chapters so it was slow going. When the kids first get to camp, there was actually an entire section I skipped where the camp director was talking. I might have missed something, but if I did, I wouldn't know it because the rest of the story didn't really miss it. I felt like I got the whole picture without the speech.
Once the action got started, though, I really enjoyed the story. Secrets, lies (lots of them), a hidden island. Great stuff.
The imagery is vivid and the world Ms. Dallas has built is absolutely lush. I felt I could see what the characters were living. And I love the sense of history behind the people of the hidden island. The characters all intertwine and the story is woven around them very well.
Our main character, Whitnee, has a lot of trauma to work through, but she's well-rounded, if a little repetitious at times. It was a pleasure to go along with her on the journey through the strange new world. The way she interacts with the people around her showed her personality. Her friends complemented her and helped her through some very difficult things.
While there is action, for me this was mainly the story of a journey. It felt like a lot was set up. Usually with first books in a series, they tend to have the ability to stand alone... This one didn't really do that for me, but I didn't mind terribly since I know the second in the series if forthcoming. The ending did offer an outcome that I didn't expect and it left a lot of room for Whitnee to grow.
Overall, the pacing was good, barring the first few chapters. There are bits of sentences, some vocabulary, and grammar that an editor would've altered had this been published by a traditional house. If I didn't know it was self-published, I could guess that it was, or that an editor didn't take as much time as he should with the manuscript.
However, the little details I saw (and the editor in me cried out to change them) didn't detract from the story at large. The plot is pretty solid and I still enjoyed reading and getting lost on the island with Whitnee and her friends. I'll be looking forward to reading the next in this series.
(I think I'll consider myself an Aerodorian... and you'll have to read the book to figure out what that means!)
For people who are looking for some high fantasy mixed with teen angst and a lot of secrets, check out this book. I highly recommend it.
For more information you can visit the author's site (the link is above) or to buy the book from amazon.com, simply click on the link to the left and follow it over.
Until next time, go read something good!