My book review of 'Island of Whispers' by Frances Hardinge

by Frances Hardinge
Recommended age: 11+
Island of Whispers
by Frances Hardinge

Though I'm not a huge fan of fantasy books, I tend to enjoy this genre more in stories for younger readers and I've long wanted to read Frances Hardinge. This is her latest book, aimed at readers aged 12 upwards, and it was rather special.

Frances Hardinge is an award-winning, bestselling writer and for this book has joined forces with the double Kate Greenaway medal winner Emily Gravett. Together they have produced a beautiful coming-of-age fairy tale of ghosts and magic.

When young Milo takes on the role of Ferryman following his father’s sudden death, he must carry the Dead away from the island of Merlank - they cannot be allowed to linger because the sight of their ghosts can kill.

This difficult, fraught and emotive task is made even more challenging as Milo is pursued by a vengeful lord and two malignant magicians, on dangerous seas, dodging headless birds and sinister shrouded figures. Does he have the courage and imagination to complete his urgent mission?

The writing is beautiful, the characters and setting compelling and the story is powerful and haunting. While I only read an early version as an e-book, the pictures were fabulous and the actual hardback glitters with shining silver moths!

Date of this review: September 2023
Book publication date: 21st September 2023