Review Blog

Jul 16 2010

Rhodon by Elise K. Ackers

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Book 1 of the Rhodon Saga. Sid Harta Publishers, 2010. ISBN 9781921642784.
(Age 12+) Recommended. Ruby has always been an outcast. Animals are terrified of her and strange things happen when she is around. Worst of all, she is the least loved daughter. Although all three girls in her family are adopted, Ruby has never fit in and she feels totally unloved. On her graduation day from Year 10, she meets a strange boy, Finn Gallagher, who tries to get her into a program that would make her dreams come true. Instead, he ruins it, and to make up for her loss, he takes her to his parallel world, Rhodon, where Ruby finds that she no longer is a freak; animals love her and she has wonderful powers. For the first time she feels as if she belongs. But will she risk the lives of the Gallagher family is she stays?
This is a gripping story on two levels: characterisation and unique setting. Ruby's plight in a world where she just doesn't fit demanded my attention from the beginning of the book, as it seemed so real and poignant. I found it hard to imagine a family as uncaring as hers and really wanted her to have a better life. I became totally engrossed in hoping that somewhere she would be happy with people who cared for her. It was a relief when she finds acceptance in the warm, loving atmosphere of Finn's home. It was good to see the Gallagher family, both parents and siblings, being so responsible and generous. Ruby is a great main character, courageous and caring about the welfare of others.
The other engrossing aspect of this story is Rhodon, the parallel world to Kyanos, or Earth as we know it. It was fun following Ruby as she weaved her way through life in Rhodon, struggling with Customs officials, money and people who could talk to animals. Olive, the bunny who attaches herself to Ruby, is a terrific character in her own right and one I loved. Emotions are more evident on Rhodon, where they manifest themselves in colour.
There is also plenty of action to keep the most demanding reader continuing to the end of the story. Ruby's powers are amazing, and the fact that she can manipulate 'tears' in the fabric of time is quite fascinating. Her struggles against the charismatic but manipulative Alistor Iron who wants to use her powers for evil, are only just beginning. The second in the series, Dios, which I am looking forward to, will no doubt bring lots more action and intrigue.
This is a story of alienation, coming of age and the love that can be found in a caring family, all wrapped up in an exciting adventure story.
Pat Pledger

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