Book Review: “The Divide” by Elizabeth Kay

Accio Book!

Felix Sanders is –well, face it. He’’s dying. He could go at any time. But he doesn’’t want to go without seeing a bit of the world, so his parents take him to Costa Rica. And there, at the top of the divide between the Atlantic and Pacific watershed, they lose him.

This is, of course, sad for Felix’’s parents, but not so bad for Felix, who finds himself not in the afterlife, but in a turned-around world where science is the stuff of fairy tales, and magic rules everyday life. Felix himself is a mythical creature, along with all the zoo animals and livestock of our world; the world beyond the divide is populated by elves, pixies, brownies, dragons, griffins, and unicorns –only by other names, such as tanglefolk, japegrins, and brazzles.

Even in this colorful, magic-filled world, there does not seem to be a cure for Felix’’s terminal heart condition. But on the slim chance that they might find one in the writings of a long-dead brazzle, Felix and his new friends,– the tangle-girl Betony and the mathematical brazzle Ironclaw, set out for the royal library in the faraway city of Andria. Along the way, they are menaced by shadow beasts, caught up in a complex web of sinister plots, and targeted by the slimiest villain in the land: Snakeweed.

Soon, Felix takes on a hero’s role in an adventure that involves prejudice, unethical drug testing, freedom of the press, an innocent man accused of murder, organized crime, shape-changing assassins, free will, marital conflict, advertising, and a dancing contest. Felix tries to keep a good attitude about all this, but it’s cruel how every time he begins to accept that he must die, an elusive hope is held up again.

Will his last hope come through before time runs out? Will his parents see him again? And when they do get him back, will they only have to lose him all over again? These are the questions that Felix faces. It takes a courageous boy to face them. And the answers lie at the end of a complex, magical adventure.