The Separated is a wonderful fantasy adventure set in the land of Verde in the world of Terre. This is the first book in
Troon Harrison's "Tales of Terre" series. A simple map is located near the front of the book for readers who want to follow the characters on their journeys.
In the land of Verde, two related rulers war over the same territory. Farmers are starving and villagers are being raided, overtaxed and thinned to a dangerous level from army recruiters. Beneath all these troublesome matters of men lie several subplots within a hidden magical realm. Three sixteen-year-olds must face an awesome challenge and overcome their own inner dragons.
Creatures of all kinds, from Mara Folk to Sea Horses and Sea Witches, are here to be discovered by readers. Wondrous colors are used along with imaginative animals like the Jennets, which seem to be similar to a zebra or striped horse but with small curled horns (resembling small seashells) beside their ears. Everyone will enjoy the thrill of the dangerous water dragon and his spell of greed for gold on the local villagers. The
courage of the Magrazzi (a creature that looks like a giraffe crossed with a swan) and the gallant night creatures that aid Vita along the way will move readers' hearts.
Ancient powers of water, nature and healing are gifted among only the hero characters: Aunt Carmela, the healer; Vita, the keeper; Giovanni, who can communicate with dolphins; and Mirana, the sea witch’s daughter. Everyone has their own destiny to fulfill, but each part they play aids the ongoing war between men.
Troon Harrison is one of the most pleasantly descriptive authors I have had the pleasure of reviewing. Use of physical reactions to stress, apprehension and fear were well done. In chapter
five, on page 37, is one instance of an admirable use of words:
“In the pearly dawn, while the sea lay flat and the little waves barely licked the beaches, Vita and Giovanni slipped from his parents’ house and walked down the cobbled alley to the harbor. …The sails were indigo colored, dyed with pigment from the mullosks that clung to island rocks, and around the fabric’s periphery stood other pirati, watching the scouts and talking about the assassini raid.”
While The Separated might have been written for a teen audience, it will certainly appeal to adults as well – after all, I am 37 at the time of this book review project, and I have thoroughly enjoyed Harrison's latest fantasy novel. Readers may also be interested to know that the author has written 16 books (teen novels, junior chapter books, and picture books) which have been well-received by critics. She has been published internationally in five different languages and has received awards for her work, as well. Two of her children’s books have been television shows on the YTV channel.
Canadian author Harrison currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, where she is hard at work on the second book for the "Tales of Terre" series, practicing her photography and teaching.