Review Details

Review type: Book

Title: The Isle of the Gods

Author: Amie Kaufman

Publisher: Rock the Boat

Release date: 14th March 2024

The Isle of the Gods

Reviewed by: Sarah Deeming

Other details: Paper back £8.49

The Isle of the Gods by Amie Kaufman

Sarah Deeming

When Macean, the god of risk, went to war against Valus, the god of merriment, and completely destroyed Valus, Barrica, the warrior goddess, stood against Macean and cast him into a prison that she must stand guard over for eternity so he can’t escape. To do this, the king of Valus’ people sacrificed his own life to strengthen his goddess, and every twenty-five years, a male descendant of this king must travel to Barrica’s temple on the Isle of Gods to renew the bond between the royal family and their goddess.

It has been twenty-six years since that bond was last renewed.

Selly does not want to take the prince, Leander, to the Isle of the Gods. She has her own things to sort out. But when he books passage on her ship, she can’t refuse, and what starts as an easy and boring journey becomes a race for life as the prince is hounded by Macean’s followers who are determined to bring back their god after 5000 years of imprisonment.

I was so excited when this book landed on my desk. I had read Kaufman before in her The Aurora Cycle series with Jay Kristoff and wanted to know what her own work would be like. Plus, we have a roguishly handsome prince who isn’t as shallow as he appears, pirates, magic, and gods. What is there not to like? And The Isle of the Gods did not disappoint. Leander, the prince, reminded me a little of Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne-Jones: incredibly talented, very charming, and completely slithery when it comes to responsibility. There is a good reason for his responsibility dodging, which is drawn out over the story, showing Leander’s depth and subtleties. We also see the same with the other main characters, Selly and Keegan, a scholar who has gotten swept up in the journey. All of them have their own reasons for avoiding the responsibilities placed on them because their own moral compasses guide them to other responsibilities. I don’t want to go into too much because that would give away the twists and turns, but it is very clever.

The story is written in the present first person, so we are at the heart of the tale from the start. We have no lull in the action, and even in the quiet moments, the characters are developing, including a very cute love story strand, so there is no saggy middle.

I was really surprised at how enjoyable The Isle of the Gods is, which I shouldn’t have been because I also loved The Aurora Cycle series. The Isle of the Gods is a fun read that I couldn’t put down, and when I did, I couldn’t stop talking about how clever it was. It’s billed as YA, but readers of all ages will love this high-seas adventure, and I can’t wait for the next one. Very highly recommended.

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