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Drift by M. K. Hutchins
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Hutchins has created an incredibly unique fantasy setting for her Young Adult debut. The vibe reminds me a lot of Diana Wynne Jones--fantastical to a weird, creepy extreme. Some of the inspiration comes from Mayan mythology, with islands set on turtles. The concept of "tending to the land" takes on new meaning when your land is a turtle that needs to feed itself and the giant world tree on its back.

Tenjat is a teenage boy who is utterly devoted to his sister. He's a bit like Luke in Star Wars Episode IV--impetuous, whiny, but with good intentions at heart. He wants to be a Handler for his island and assist in fighting off nagas. The protagonist of the book might be a young man, but the wisdom and fighting prowess is demonstrated by the young women of the cast, namely his sister Eflet and trainer Avi.

The tension in the story increases dramatically about halfway through; I didn't want to put the book down! The biggest criticism I have is that the shame of marriage within the world feels heavy-handed at times. There were some crazy, weird revelations as the plot develops, the kind that take you aback but make sense in retrospect. It's the kind of edgy world-building that keeps you from getting complacent. Good stuff. ( )
  ladycato | Feb 28, 2015 |
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To raise his family out of poverty, seventeen-year-old Tenjat joins a dangerous defense against the naga monsters that gnaw at his drifting island's foundation.

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