The red windCategory: Children’s Fantasy

Title: The Red Wind. The Kingdom of the Lost Book 1

Author: Isobelle Carmody

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia 2010

Winner, Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year – Younger Readers 2011

Nominee, WA Premier’s Book Award for Children’s Books 2010

My Review: The first book in the Kingdom of the Lost series, the Red Wind, tells the story of brothers Bily and Zluty. Hatched from a metal egg, the brothers are a mix between human and animal, with kind little faces surrounded by soft fur, twitching ears and long tails. Different in many ways, the brothers compliment each other with the timid Bily preferring to tend to the garden, cook and create in the home they have built on the plains, and brave Zluty, the more adventurous one, who treks several times a year to the Northern Forest, the South and the East foraging for their food.

The brothers live in harmony until a red wind appears on the horizon and sweeps across the land while Zluty is away in the Northern Forest and it changes their lives forever.

The red wind and storm destroys everything they hold dear, and while Bily, who dislikes change and cannot understand his brothers need for adventure, is at home fighting to save their cottage and the animals near to them, is forced out of his comfort zone and becomes brave. Zluty must wait for the storm to end before he can leave the Northern Forest, but feels fear for the first time, fear for his brother, and after finding a mysterious metal egg in the forest he crosses the plains as fast as he can to return to his brother.

At the urging of the Monster, a cat-like animal that arrived injured during the storm, they leave the plains. They begin a perilous journey across the desert with the Monster and the twittering bird Redwing in search of a new home beyond the mountains.

The author has sparked my curiosity with this story. Set in a fantastical land that is littered with broken metal objects similar the metal egg the brothers hatched from – the book has a faint sci-fi feel to it. Where did the brothers come from? Who were their parents? the Monster asks. The brothers hadn’t thought about it before and start to wonder exactly where they came from. And what are the metal objects that litter the plain where they live? Why did the Monster arrive with the red wind? What will they find across the Mountains?

This book was a really enjoyable read, helped along by Isobelle Carmody’s beautiful illustrations. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

My Rating: 3 1/2 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.

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