Empire of the Waves: Voyage of the Moon Child Book One (Christopher Richardson, Puffin)
This debut has all the elements of a great fantasy adventure—swashbuckling pirates, a friendly giant, wibbens (or dwarves), monsters of the deep, an underwater city and more. The world is detailed and intricate so it takes the reader a little while to get to know all the characters, but the story is beautifully written, action-packed and engaging. Annie Tidechild is an orphan in the island city of Pel Narine, looked after by a nun rather than her adopted family. Their world, known as Salila, consists of island outposts constantly under threat from numerous pirate clans. Underneath the waves, something is calling Annie to her destiny as a Tidechild. When she meets Duck, the son of a high-ranking captain who has just returned from 10 years at sea, they are drawn into an intrigue that will take them all around the world and force them to question everything they previously believed to be true. Although the publisher suggests this is suitable for readers aged 10 and up, due to the complexity of the story I would recommend it only to confident 10-year-old readers. A more practical age would be 12 and up. The map provided is helpful, but a glossary would also be welcome. The conclusion leaves the reader wanting more from this exciting new fantasy series.
Angela Crocombe is the children’s book buyer at Readings Carlton