Alexis Marie Chute
Reviewed by Jennifer, YA Reviewer for Reader Views (01/19)
“Above the Star” by Alexis Marie Chute is a fast-paced fantasy novel that revolves around family, love, and sacrifice. This story tells of a father whose son disappears at the worst possible time, a daughter who loves her father even though he abandoned her, and a mother who is willing to risk her life for her daughter.
By tricking his daughter-in-law and his terminally ill granddaughter into thinking they are going on a family cruise to the Canary Islands, Archie is really planning to follow the instructions left behind by his long-lost son Arden. Arden, an Egyptian Studies professor, thinks he has discovered a magical cure for Ella (his 14-year-old daughter) located on the island of Jarr-Wya. But to get there he must find a Tillastrion and a native of Jarr-Wya to help him use it. When Arden disappears, his wife Tessa assumes he has left them because of Ella’s illness and the stress it brings. But Archie knows his son would never leave Ella, no matter how hard things got.
Archie, Ella, and Tessa set off on a vacation they will never forget. When the ship docks, Archie sets off to track down the mysterious tillastrion, and begins to see that Arden’s journals are very real instructions. Thus begins the tale of the humans, Olearons, Bangols, Millia, and a host of other colorful characters, animals, and people groups. The author does an amazing job of breathing life into each and every character.
The enchanting world of Jarr-Wya and its inhabitants will capture your heart and mind as you navigate the magical land with the fiery Olearons, what’s left of the crew of the, now disabled, Atlantic Odyssey, and a host of other fantastical characters. I really enjoyed the detail that the author displays in this novel. I could almost smell the salty air as I read. I love that the author included illustrations of Ella’s drawings and a glossary of characters.
This book reminded me that your family isn’t always “blood” but those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for you, who accept your differences, who risk everything to find you when you are lost. I was often completely blown away by the twists and turns in the plot. I was captured by the detail that each chapter holds.
I look forward to the second installment in this trilogy. I am fully invested in the lives of the Wellsley family and their time on the island. As a YA fantasy, “Above the Star” by Alexis Marie Chute really delivered the goods in terms of adventure, intrigue, substance, and suspense. The author has a gift for writing with great detail. I am anxious to see the rest of the story unfold.