Review: Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere by Ruth Lauren

Written by  Ruth Lauren
Illustrations by Sharon King-Chai
Published by Little Tiger

Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere is an exhilarating and action-packed magical adventure that completely captivated me.

Twelve-year-old Tourmaline makes a terrible discovery when she is eavesdropping on two of her professors at Pellavere University:  her mother, Persephone, has gone missing whilst on an archaeological hunt for a mysterious artefact on behalf of the university.  And even worse – no-one knows where she is and no rescue party will be sent!  Tourmaline has no intention of leaving her mother to her fate, and determines to find her with help from her best friend George and her new acquaintance, Mia who has newly arrived at the university with her mother.

After breaking into Persephone’s office, the children find a note in her mother’s handwriting which gives them both a warning and a clue as to where to start their search …. The Living Archives, a secret library within the university …

And so begins an exciting, action-packed adventure as the children find themselves in possession of a map which they hope will lead to Tourmaline’s mother on a hidden island, but first they have to find their way to the sea, and what better way than as stowaways aboard a ship, The Hunter?  Their plans go somewhat awry when they discover just who crews the ship:  a band of female pirates and rogue artefact hunters, who are also intent on finding the Island of Elsewhere.  Will Tourmaline be able to outwit the hunters and be the first to reach the island?  Can she overcome the many obstacles that are thrown in her way as she races to save her mother?   

I think that the world might be better with a little magic in it.

I loved the gripping twists and turns, and the brilliantly unexpected revelations, that kept me eagerly turning pages as I was never sure quite what was going to happen next.  The world-building is wonderful and so imaginative:  a magical, sentient island with talking trees, protective and dangerous nature and tricksy mazes that made this such a thrilling and enjoyable read. 

Tourmaline is a real gem of a character:  determined, strong, courageous and with a natural curiosity that propels her into an incredible adventure.  She is protective of her best friend, George, who is more nervous and anxious and keen to follow the rules.  But, when Tourmaline needs him, he proves himself to be a loyal and brave friend.  I also enjoyed the ups and downs of the relationship between Mai and Tourmaline as they build trust and friendship.

This is the most wonderful, magical adventure, filled with friendship, danger and discovery, perfect for readers of 9+ who, I have no doubt, will be eagerly waiting for Tourmaline’s next adventure – just as much as I am!

Thank you to Little Tiger Books for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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