Title: The Cloud Road, The Kingdom of the Lost Book 2
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Publisher: Penguin Group Australia 2013
Finalist, 2013 Aurealis Awards Best Children’s Book
My Review: Carmody begins the book as Bily, Zluty, The Monster and Redwing are crossing the desert to the mountains. For many pages it is basically just a recount of Book 1. It was a little frustrating as I had read the books back to back, but I understand the need for this, being that there was a big gap between books and the recount was a great reminder of the events of Book 1 without having to re-read it, but even so I found it particularly long-winded. But, having said that, as soon as that was out of the way, the story fired up!
(Some minor spoilers below)
After the brothers search for water in the desert – and coming up against a horror in a crevice in the desert floor, they eventually find themselves winding their way up into the mountains. The Monster continues to be ever-mysterious in its feverish ramblings with mutterings of The Makers, their Plan, the metal, and the fact that the brothers don’t have metal within them and are not part of the Makers ‘Plan’.
Bily is amazed at his own bravery as they go through the book, as is his brother Zluty, who underestimated his formerly timid brother who, when put under pressure or something he cares for is in danger, Bily rises to the challenge even when his own life is threatened. Carmody shows the brothers growth well with Bily beginning to understand Zluty’s love of adventure and new experiences – while Zluty begins to understand the nature of nurture and healing. Bily had always had an affinity for talking to the animals and had more of an understanding of them. Zluty originally saw this as something only Bily was capable of and not him, but he has come to see that it is merely that Bily takes care and has consideration of these animals – the diggers, the birds etc – and that he, Zluty could do this too.
They meet a clan of diggers, with a society more advanced than the little clan of diggers near their old home and form a kinship with them, and for the first time in their lives they find themselves as part of a family. The diggers help Bily with healing the Monster, and Zluty is curious of the Monks, who live atop the mountain with the Machine, and the Rift of the Makers. The Monster continues to urge them to cross the Mountains before winter, and Zluty is still wary of the Monster and its role with the Makers and their Plan. When Zluty decides to investigate the Monks and their mysterious metal machine he finds himself in a very dangerous situation.
I enjoyed the second book, but I have to admit I found the novel slightly confusing in the second half, but I feel that maybe this was deliberate (I could be wrong!). Carmody has created a world where Bily and Zluty only knew their home on the plains and only knew the words that went with that life. When the Monster mentions the word ‘mountain’ the brothers are unsure what this is. Or the word ‘blizzard’. I love when Bily meets a new friend, a huge white mountain cat, that he assumes must be what a blizzard is. They know nothing of the Makers, their Plan, the metal or the greater world around them – or where they came from, so when reading the book we are reading from the perspective of Bily and Zluty who, just like the reader, have a limited view of this new world they find themselves in after the solitude of their former home.
Again, as Bily Zluty and the Monster continue their travels across the Mountains I am very curious about the Makers, their Plan, and I am sure as the brilliant writer that she is, Isobelle Carmody will slowly reveal the mysteries masterfully in the third book The Velvet City. I am looking forward to its forthcoming release, and since it doesn’t come out for a while perhaps I will appreciate a re-count at the beginning!
My Rating: 3 stars.
Author Bio: Isobelle Carmody is an award-winning Australian writer of science fiction, fantasy, young adult and children’s books and is best known for the Obernewtyn Chronicles. With over 30 books to her name (her first written at age 14), a sizeable collection of short stories and five picture books, she has made a huge contribution to Australian literature. She is a highly regarded, prominent author of fantasy in Australia and has been short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Patricia Wrightson Prize), awarded the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the year twice, awarded three Aurealis Awards, and has also won the Children’s Literature Peace prize.
To read more about Isobelle Carmody and her collection of books, click here.
This book is reviewed as part of the Australian Women Writers challenge – Join the challenge here.