May 17, 2011 | goulds
The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier — is another must-read for all tween/teen fantasy fans. Fourteen-year-old Trei lost his family to a volcanic explosion and seeks refuge with his aunt, uncle, and cousin in the neighboring, airborn kingdom of the Floating Islands. Upon arriving he sees men soaring in the skies with wings and dragon magic and is consumed with the desire to also be a kajurai. Soon after his arrival his aunt and uncle become victims of a horrid epidemic. Now is cousin Araene is also an orphan and must decide what she will do with her life. The constraints on woman in her kingdom are unbearable, but she is clever and soon finds a way to pursue her love of the culinary arts, as well as to use her gifts in the art of magic - as long as no one discovers her sexual disguise that is. As they pursue their dreams, neither realizes that the fate of the Floating Islands is in their hands.