Genre: Young Adult/ Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy
Source: The author in exchange for an honest review
Summary from Goodreads:
Opal gets a dirty old suitcase for her birthday. She’s not impressed. Her grandfather tells her she’ll need it, because she’s going to live with her great aunt on Broken Shell Island. Opal wonders if her grandfather hasn’t gone senile, because Broken Shell Island is a made-up magical place that their family friend Flora Fritz writes picture books about.
Oh, but the island is real. And magic.
Opal encounters magical plants, animals, and danger, too. The evening she arrives, a body is discovered in the woods, not far from where she passed through. Worse, a terrifying creature has emerged from the ground, and it hungers for the innocent, whether the people of the island believe in it or not.
While young Opal is eager to fit into her new life, perhaps becoming a witch herself, she’s mainly concerned about surviving her first week. Riding a unicorn is not quite the experience she expected, nor is her first encounter with hair-styling pixies.
Life is beautiful, magical, and perilous, on Broken Shell Island.
There are some books that you know from the first chapter that you’re going to like the book. Broken Shell Island is one of those books for me. There was undeniable charm and wonderfulness present immediately. Moon doesn’t waste any time with background or setting up the story. Within pages we’re off with Opal on a whirlwind adventure.
To a certain extent it reminds me of The Magicians by Lev Grossman except way less dark. Even though the Broken Shell Island books by Flora Fitz aren’t real, you still have an idea about what they’re about. They have those common elements from fantasy books (pixies, witches, magic) so you feel like you know the books without actually having read them. Moon takes those common elements and shows you how they would be in “real” life. Witches aren’t exactly welcome around ‘normal’ people, unicorns definitely aren’t as cool as you’d thought they’d be, there are hate crimes against magical creatures. Things aren’t perfect in this fantasy world.
The story is a pretty good adventure. It takes place across a pretty short period of time but you cover a LOT of ground. The story is paced very well. It moves along quickly but you don’t feel rushed. I loved that the story wasn’t predictable at all. I had no idea what was going to happen. I’m pretty good at predicting how things will play out. I read enough books to recognize clues but this book threw me for a loop. I did not see that ending coming.
The book had a timeless feel to it. There are some brief mentions of cellphones and other modern day items but the majority of the story was ‘off the grid’ so to speak. The island doesn’t have internet, phones, or television. It could almost take place at anytime which makes the story readable for years to come.
I liked Opal as a character. She’s very likeable. She’s a pretty strong character. She has no clue what in the world she’s doing but she’s going try her best. Opal doesn’t need someone to rescue her. I always appreciate those heroines.
The bottom line? Broken Shell Island is a completely delightful and wonderful story.