The Chronicles of Egg, Book One
Review posted December 7, 2012.
G. P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin), 2012. 295 pages.
This book is only fantasy in that it takes place in an imaginary world, and legendary magic is mentioned, but it is dismissed as a legend and no magic is ever seen. I'd be sorely tempted to classify it as "Historical," except it's a totally imaginary history of totally imaginary places.
Egbert is growing up on Deadweather Island. It's called that because the weather is awful. He lives on a fruit plantation with his father, older brother, and older sister. Their field hands are mainly retired pirates, many of whom don't actually have two hands. But then his father mysteriously takes the whole family to Sunrise Island -- a beautiful island where rich people live, and Egg's adventures begin.
Egbert's older brother and sister and their tutor are all horribly mean to him, as a matter of course. And quite a lot of people die, rather callously. Those were things I didn't like about the book. But overall, it won me over, because Egg has a good heart. And there is adventure, and lots of it.
On Sunrise Island, Egg meets the most powerful man on the island and his daughter, Millicent, who has a mind of her own, and whom Egg immediately falls for. Unfortunately, Millicent's father apparently wants Egg dead. Trying to escape leads him on a wild series of adventures involving pirates, stowing away, and finding help in very strange places.
Personally, I didn't like how many different people were downright mean to Egg. But, yes, it's a rollicking adventure story, with pirates, and I will happily give this to young readers looking for adventure tales. And I definitely want to read the second volume as soon as it's available.