I was contacted by Pen Clements to read book one, Oceanheart of her YA fantasy series entitled The Enchanted Pages. I find it hard to get completely taken away into YA fantasy. I know that fantasy consumes a large bulk of the YA genre, and with Oceanheart I found that it was a good book to start me off in the right direction into this genre. I’m not going to rush and buy every fantasy book possible but now I have an idea of what I like and don’t like. Oceanheart is a short read at 166 pages and would be a great book for a younger teen that is interested in this genre. There is no heavy sense of romance like other YA titles out there. Instead Pen Clement tells a sweet boy meets girl story that is innocent but is never the star of the story. The story is completely about Wynn, her sister, and her mission to return home.
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Wynn sits beside the bed of her dying sister and writes in her new journal. She has no idea that the journal is enchanted and is about to sweep her into a tropical island world of crystal seas, deep jungle and strange inhabitants. This is no island paradise, however. Paradise doesn't have poison masters called the Teeth and it doesn't have Sorrowmaker patrolling the reef.
If Wynn can find the 'Oceanheart' she may save the island and her sister too. But the islanders don't trust her, the Teeth are after her and she's just not sure about Soran. Is he a friend, one who reads nature like a book and can help her survive anything? Or is he something else entirely?
If she is to succeed, Wynn must travel deep inside herself and find qualities she never knew were there. And all the while, Sorrowmaker sweeps endlessly closer in a childhood nightmare made real.
Winner of an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship and an Olvar Wood Fellowship Award.
Wynn is a young girl filled with regret about her sister’s current condition. She is seen as a girl who has made mistakes and is trying to make amends. Wynn’s relationship with her sister will connect with a lot of girls. It might not be as dramatic as in Oceanheart but readers will definitely relate to what’s going on inside Wynn’s head. Wynn is very strong willed but once in the presence of the islanders she is seen as a bit vulnerable and frustrated. She wants an explanation from the mystical beings that inhabit the island of why she is there but is given something more meaningful that Wynn must decode for herself.
Soran is still a big mystery to me. Hopefully he may have more of a presence in the second book. After hearing of why Wynn needs to get back to her sister, Soran decides to help her. He is seen as a definite leader the way he pushes Wynn throughout the trails and trees of the island. He thinks she’s trouble at first but then sympathizes with her.
The most beautiful thing about Oceanheart was the description of the islanders and their tattoos. Pen Clements eloquently describes magical tattoos that move and grace the islander’s bodies like living things while illuminating light. The discussion between Wynn and the Chief about how their tattoos depict the individual history of a person was fantastic. There is even a small moment of redemption for a major character from the other islanders that captured someone lost then finding ones self again with the use of history.
Oceanheart is a book that any young boy or girl could read. It’s a good introduction into the fantasy genre that will not overwhelm a newcomer. There is a great message of unity and family that would be beneficial to a young and old audience.