Journey Across the Hidden Islands by Sarah Beth Durst has a dragon, koji, valravens (who knew they were a thing?!), princesses on a quest, and… flying lions (among other fantastical creatures).
This book was recommended by my public library (one of my favorite stops if you haven’t already noticed). It was a recent mother-daughter book club pick. Even though my daughter and I aren’t able to participate in the actual club discussions (scheduling conflicts), I still like to find out what they are reading. This one was mentioned for having many great lessons and discussion-worthy content. I have to agree.
Fantasy has been heavy in my reading lists lately. It’s not normally my top pick though. This one was just so out there that I couldn’t help but get pulled in. Sister princesses are trained for different positions, one to be a proper heir to the throne and one to be a warrior/protector. They are sent ahead of schedule as twelve-year olds to renew their people’s pact with a dragon. This pact has kept their islands safe for hundreds of years. As they make their journey they must face koji monsters and other obstacles. The sisters must also embrace their own apprehensions, jealousies and expectations.
The ending of the story is what resonated most with me. The ideas of becoming who you are and accepting change are powerful lessons which come together in the story’s resolution.
“It can’t ever fly if you don’t let it. It can’t ever see the world if you don’t let it. It can’t live if you never give it the chance” (332).