I’ve had this book on my shelf for ages. I went looking for Australiana books while I had a friend over from overseas and just thought that this looked a little interesting. The other night I decided to pick it up. Which was great, but also a mistake. I didn’t put it back down again. Something about the familiarity of our beautiful country, Brolga's passions and the great Aussie voice completely reeled me in and made it just impossible to put this down. Or sleep. Even though I was absolutely buggered…
I finally finished the series! Not only was this one of those series that was a long time in the making (and completion), but it was also one of those series that I bought the last book, and then left it on my shelf for 2 years. Partly because I wanted to reread the entire thing before I put my hands on the final book, but it’s a fairly complex and convoluted series all up. And, quite honestly the last two books kind of drag for me. To the point that I actually skim read The Red Queen. It was okay, but it wasn’t enough to fully draw me into the story and make me just completely digest and absorb every single word.
Finishing this book has been a long time coming. I started rereading the series when The Red Queen came out, and I hadn’t ever quite gotten to The Sending. Over two years later, I finally managed to find the time to actually sit down and read this story. It is intense and quite a long haul, but it is most certainly worth the time and brain power that I put into it. It is going to take me quite a while to finish The Red Queen as well, over a month (much like The Sending), but it is an epic journey, and sometimes spending the time to take an epic journey is definitely worthwhile.
Every time I read a book, I imagine the world, the creatures and the characters that have been laid out before my eyes. However, the world of words will only get you so far. Sometimes, it’s a nice benefit to have a visual representation of what you are reading. After all, why else would people read books with pictures?
I loved this collection of tales. Not only were they fun and interesting to read on their own, but they built beautifully on the Deltora series (1, 2 and 3). The way in which the tales are broken up into short ‘folklore’ stories means that this book is really easy to read. After all, each short story has its own theme, message and journey. But, read in one big hit, as a whole, and with the rest of the Deltora series in mind, the overarching message and story comes to light.
This is a fantastic conclusion to the first of the Deltora Quests. The gems have all been restored, but the trio still have to find out where the heir to the crown has been hiding. The path to finding the unknown child is filled with tricks and treachery from the Shadow Lord. Every step feels as thought Lief, Barda and Jasmine have taken one further step into the web of deception that has been spun.
This might be the last gem for the belt of Deltora, but it is definitely not the last step on the journey. The gems may all get restored to the belt, but they still need the heir, and Lief is so very aware of this as they travel towards the Valley of the Lost. But, like the rest of the gems, it is not just a simple means of finding where the gem is hidden – they have to battle the guardian to win it. Just, in this case, the battle is one of wits that the trio can’t afford to lose.
The next step on Lief, Barda and Jasmine’s journey is filled with even more danger, yet again. Not only does it feel like the stakes have been raised, but the enemy’s awareness of their actions have also increased. Not only do the trio constantly face the dangers of recognition, but they similarly need to face the dangers of the maze of the beast. Not only do they not know where the maze is, but they also have no idea how to get there and avoid the dangers of the Ols and constant interaction with more people.
I remember reading this book when I was a younger kid. I remember loving it and being a little more aware of the world around me as I read this. However, having reread this story as a more educated adult, I was a little uncomfortable. Which is a good thing, I’m far more socially and politically aware now, and this is a story about refugees and refugee camps in Australia. I think if it doesn’t make you at least a little uncomfortable as a person, or even an Australian, you’re maybe not getting the point of the story…
Planes, children and death, three things that kind of freak me out, all combined into one very enjoyable short story. But honestly, I didn’t expect anything less from one of my favourite authors!