Title: The Boy From Ilysies
Author: Pearl North
Synopsis: The magical sequel to Pearl North’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Libyrinth
On a world light-years away, Earth is long forgotten, except for the knowledge protected in the vast libyrinth. But that knowledge was threatened by the Singers, who for generations beyond remembering have relied on oral storytelling. They sought to destroy the books in the libyrinth, which they thought would—if read—kill the words they sing, and the knowledge in their songs.
Now a Song has created peace between the Singers and the Libyrarians who work in the libyrinth. However, the libyrinth is quickly running out of food, and the survival of the ancient edifice and those who serve it may depend on Po, a young Ilysian who has had trouble adjusting to life at the libyrinth. Caught between his longings for acceptance and the Machiavellian tactics of his queen, Po is tricked into a crime that causes him to be cast out.
He may return only if he retrieves a legendary artifact that may be the answer to all of the libyrinth’s problems…or could turn the world into a barren, lifeless ruin. For Po, life has finally become exciting…but the cost may be his life, and the lives of those he loves.
The Boy From Ilysies is an exciting, fast-paced novel about acceptance, growing up, and learning to trust oneself.
Review: I really enjoyed Libyrinth, and was really excited to read its sequel. And it did not disappoint! If anything, The Boy From Ilysies is even better than the first book. This series does not suffer from second-book-syndrome in any way, and it was very refreshing.
One of my favorite things about this book was that it took a previously minor character and turned him into the unlikely hero. In the first book, Po is the kinesthesiologist's apprentice and just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up flying with Clauda in the wing. At the beginning of this book, he's lost and homesick and wants to leave the Libyrinth to return home to Ilysies. But throughout the book, he matures and grows and begins to accept the other ways of life as not being so different from the one he knows. He's definitely one of the most well-developed characters in the series and in YA in general I think, and it's a real shame not more people know about him. At the start of this book, I did not like Po at all but by the end I found myself cheering him on.
Another thing that Pearl North does exceptionally well is building a new and fascinating world. I mean, I can't even begin to fathom how she came up with this concept. There are four main groups of people (the Libyrarians, the Singers, the Ayorites, and the Ilysieans), and each group has totally different viewpoints on the roles of men and women, on what/who the Ancients were, on what the driving force behind everything is, and so much more. I could barely keep them straight as the reader, I can't even imagine how North was able to create this world and then expand upon it. I thought I knew enough from the first book, but somehow North gives us even more insight into the world of these books and expands the world so much.
The plot moves a little slowly at first, but I think it ends up being alright because we get to learn more about Po and his feelings about the Redemption and life at the Libyrinth. Once the group leaves and their mission is underway though, things pick up quite considerably. There is very little downtime, and we find ourselves right in the middle of all of the action. I also thought that switching back and forth between characters as narrators was a really great technique, and is done very well. Not only do we see what Po and his group are experiencing, but we also get to see a little bit of what is going on back at the Libyrinth.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who read and enjoyed Libyrinth. It's better than the first one, and you don't want to miss this next chapter in the trilogy! I would also recommend this series to anyone who is looking for an excellent fantasy series to start. They're easy reads, but I think they have appeal for both younger and older audiences. Anyone who loves books would love this series, regardless of age. A 4/5! I can't wait to read The Book of the Night!