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Monday, April 8, 2013

Past the Last Island by Kathleen Rollins

Past the Last Island is the second book in the Misfits & Heroes series, but it has none of the pitfalls of a traditional sequel. From the subtle cover that hints at the adventure inside to the psychologically complex characters, this book gets everything even more right than the first.

I enjoyed Nulo's misfit story the most out of all the threads. He has none of the advantages of even the average people in this community where everything is changing. His transformation is gradual and accomplished realistically through showing craftsmen what a good worker he can be. He still doesn't gain real acceptance until he has to lead the willing people into the unknown, relying on his dream visions and compass rocks. In the end, he'll always feel removed from the others, so the whole trajectory is sympathetic and believable.

But the overall book is about bigger, outward changes that inspired me even though I have no prospects for travel in the near future. The daring and the risks are so real.

The text seems effortless, so I can only stand in awe of the gargantuan effort it must have taken to make it that way. The research and dedication required for a historical novel to really put the reader in the characters' shoes is huge -- how much more dedication and imagination must it take to create such convincing landscapes, seascapes and headscapes for people who lived before history, whom we can know only by the non-verbal evidence they left behind? Kathleen Rollins does it well, and could consider her accomplishments complete, but something tells me she'll be gracing the world with another compelling story before long.

Find it at Amazon here, or request from your local bookstore!

Be sure to come back on Wednesday for a very special guest post by the author!