The Dark Hills Divide (Patrick Carman)

The Dark Hills Divide

Series: The Land of Elyon (Book #1)

Inquisitive twelve-year-old Alexa Daley is spending another summer in the walled town of Bridewell. This year, she is set on solving the mystery of what lies beyond the walls. Legend says the walls were built to keep out an unnamed evil that lurks in the forests and The Dark Hills. But what exactly is it that the townspeople are so afraid of? As Alexa begins to unravel the truth, pushing beyond the protective barrier she’s lived behind all her life, she discovers a strange and ancient enchantment— and exposes a danger that could destroy everything she holds dear.

It was an intriguing albeit familiar story of walled cities; of a curious child wondering what lies outside the tall walls. It was a good young adult fantasy story and the history of why the walls were built were interesting at best. The use of the small colored stones and spyglasses makes it like a child’s little game of mystery, but I couldn’t relate to the protagonist, Alexa Daley. It could be because I found her ‘voice’ arrogant and too mature for her age, or was it because the narrative seemed to come from an older Alexa as it was told in a first-person view.

I also found it unreal that there seemed to be no other children around. She was mostly surrounded by full grown men, and the women were only talked about but unseen1. I understand that a child can be a loner and might not be able to talk or play with others, or this is simply to make her stand out, but simply not seeing or any mention of another child made me uneasy. The supporting character Yipes, a small stature of a man she meets later on, was more relatable.

The ending wrapped up too quickly for me, but then again there are 3 more books plus a prequel so there might be something more to it. Though I am still on the fence if I do buy and read the rest or not.

Overall, it had the makings of a good fantasy story hindered by a flat narrative. I’ll try reading it again since I know I skimmed some of the pages just to get to the next scene, but it won’t be anytime soon.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars [?]

  1. Except for one maidservant, but I digress []

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