For generations, Aileen’s ancestors have been the Wise Women of Skarr. She’s always expected she’ll become one too, and follow in the footsteps of her Aunt Beck, but instead, she fails her initiation. And before she has a chance to try again, she and Aunt Beck are summoned by Skarr’s king to embark on a dangerous mission.
For years, a barrier has stood between the three Islands of Chaldea and the neighboring island of Logra, blocking trade and travel alike. But there is a rumor that, if the barrier can be breached by someone from each island, it will be broken.
Aileen and Aunt Beck set off through the Islands of Chaldea to attempt just that. Along the way, they are joined by, among others, a mysterious cat with strange powers, a reluctant Prince of Skarr, and a determined inventor who believes there is indeed a way to cross the barrier. But something much darker is brewing in the Islands and Logra alike. Will Aileen be able to uncover the barrier’s secrets—and understand her own powers—in time?
I first read The Islands of Chaldea several years ago, and when I reread it, I discovered it is every bit as good as I remembered. Aileen is a capable, smart, and brave heroine, and the other characters are amusing and unique. The Islands of Chaldea is the kind of high fantasy novel I love, with whimsical magic and multilayered settings. I’d highly recommend The Islands of Chaldea to fantasy lovers ages nine and up.
Note: Diana Wynne Jones is the author of many acclaimed fantasy novels, including Howl’s Moving Castle, which I also recommend if you enjoy this book.