Ahoy, me hearties! Escape to the Moon Islands is a nautical adventure series starring two strong and resilient siblings. The book is an ambitious, speculative fiction one designed for young adult readers. It tackles some important topics like climate change, poverty, bullying and the misuse of power, and it handles this in a way that is appropriate and mindful of its target audience.
This book is the first in a new adventure series called, Quest of the Sunfish and is by the critically acclaimed writer, Mardi McConnochie. Because this is book number one, McConnochie spends a fair amount of time creating the world and the different characters. The book also finishes with a number of unresolved elements, leaving things open so that the story can continue in the subsequent instalments. One quibble with this novel is that the story is an adventure one but the book itself is missing a map for the reader to go back and refer to. This would help in allowing the reader to imagine and reflect on this journey into another world.
Escape to the Moon Islands begins when siblings, Will and Annalie learn that their father, Spinner has disappeared. Their family had been living off the grid and in subpar conditions. But in spite of this apparent poverty, Annalie was able to attend an expensive school because her father had recognised that she was a clever child. Her brother on the other hand, seemed more interested in joining his Dad on the old man’s small sailboat called The Sunfish.
These characters live in a word where a major flood once occurred and wiped out large stretches of civilisation. It’s also one where society is ruled by a naval group called Admiralty. These rulers appear to be good but when Spinner is accused of stealing classified information and goes missing, it seems like there could be more to this story than originally met the eye.
Will and Annalie decide to cast off and go on a voyage along the water in their father’s sailboat in an attempt to find him. They are joined by a chatty parrot named Graham and Annalie’s school friend, Essie. Along the way the pick up a former child slave named Pod. Their journey includes different adventures and brushes with villains like pirates, cannibals and authority in general.
McConnochie should be commended for crafting such a complex story and not shying away from tackling some important issues in her book for young adults. Escape to the Moon Islands is easy to read and is an intense journey of discovery. This is the kind of trip that kids can learn from and one they ultimately won’t want to miss.
***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a Beauty & Lace giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: http://bookgirl.beautyandlace.net/book-club-escape-to-the-moon-islands-quest-of-the-sunfish