Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Review: Honey Mountain by Jane Taylor


by Jane Taylor
Middle Grade Fantasy
400 pages
ages 9 to 12

In a dimension that is invisible to humans and inhabited by magical beings, four companions embark on a journey to free a friend and a large number of pollinating insects from the clutches of a diabolical wizard who is himself captivated by the most powerful Sorceress ever known.

They are sustained in their quest by humour, affection and loyalty as they courageously battle the age-old evils of cruel greed and unfettered ambition.

Honey Mountain is a story of light-hearted magical realism with a dark edge in which traditional fairy tale creatures tackle their own twenty-first century environmental problems. A strong female character leads the cast and sees the struggle through to a dramatic conclusion while two other antagonistic creatures come of age when they forge a friendship out of adversity.



                                            * rich world building
                                            * fairies
                                            * friendship
                                            * environmental issues


This book heads into a rich fantasy world, where spunky fairies delight with their personalities while darker situations settle in.

I was surprised how well-developed this world is. The author allows each personality to unfold with depth, individuality, and fun quirks and attitudes. Details sprinkle in, which allow the scenes to come to life and place vivid settings, which feel as if they could be real. Fantasy fans will enjoy diving in and getting lost in this world.

This is a book about fairies, the type that live in nature and take their responsibilities along with a good dose of fun. The dialogue holds clever humor and lets each characters personality shine, making them to love or dislike. Because of this richness and the slightly higher vocabulary, I see this as a better fit for the upper end of the middle grade group. 

The pacing in this one is steady the entire way through and adds wonderful bouts of tension. Friendship, courage, and determination are key, but this one also touches upon environmental issues, which offers a refreshing twist. 

And here she is...

Jane Taylor is a retired secondary school teacher of Chemistry and Science who now lives near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire.

She spends a great deal of time writing fiction, biographical and autobiographical stories, and some poetry but this is her first published work.

Honey Mountain was inspired by her daughter Emily’s illustrations, some of which are included in the book.

Jane set out to write a modern fairy story, alluding as it does to some twenty-first century problems, but one that also stays true to young people’s  fondness for humorous fantasy, for heroism and for action-packed adventure.

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