Summary and book reviews of The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan

The Islands at the End of the World

by Austin Aslan

The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2014, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2015, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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Book Summary

In this fast-paced survival story set in Hawaii, electronics fail worldwide, the islands become completely isolated, and a strange starscape fills the sky. Leilani and her father embark on a nightmare odyssey from Oahu to their home on the Big Island. Leilani's epilepsy holds a clue to the disaster, if only they can survive as the islands revert to earlier ways. 

A powerful story enriched by fascinating elements of Hawaiian ecology, culture, and warfare, this captivating and dramatic debut from Austin Aslan is the first of two novels. The author has a master's degree in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

16 year–old Leilani, an epileptic, and her father are visiting Oahu, Hawaii, when global disaster strikes due to a cosmic event. Technology and power fail, and Hawaii is cut off from the world. Paradise disappears as the islands revert to traditional ways of survival. Chapter 10 opens as Waikiki disintegrates into chaos and Lei and Dad escape from their hotel.

CHAPTER 10

A piercing buzz rockets through my ears. White, flashing lights batter my eyelids. Oh, no, again? Already?

"Leilani, wake up! Come on." I can barely hear words over the buzz.

I'm being gently shaken. Dad is standing over me. It's still dark, but white lights

flicker on and off at regular intervals. The lanai door is wide open, and a gentle breeze soothes my sweaty face. I hear nothing but the ungodly alarm. A fire alarm?

"Time to go," he says. "Now!"

I sit up, scrambling up the muddy walls of the dark, murky pit where my mind has crouched. "What time is it? What day?"

"Nearly five o'...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Aslan writes with a great sense of suspense. Narrow escapes, chases and action-packed confrontations flow across the pages of the novel. But there is more here, too, than just adventure. Aslan creates a real bond between Leilani and her father, and a great respect grows between them as they trek through the islands to try to get home. "We're doing this together, okay?" Dad says. "We're right here with each other all the way through." So you root for them, not just because they are the good guys (which they are), but also because they are a symbol of the way love can expand and deepen, even under harsh circumstances.   (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).

Full Review (720 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. First in a planned two-book series, it's an exceptional adventure and survival story that's intimately tied to its setting. Ages 12–up.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. Aslan's debut is a riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Aslan's debut honors Hawaii's unique cultural strengths - family ties and love of home, amplified by geography and history - while remaining true to a genre that affirms the mysterious grandeur of the universe waiting to be discovered. Ages 12+

Reader Reviews

student

Amazing
Book was so interesting and the action is unbearable.

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Beyond the Book

Pele, Fire Goddess Of Hawaii

In The Islands at the End of the World, Leilani's grandfather tells her, "Pele's your guardian spirit, yeah? Goddess of lightning." Leilani, who suffers from epilepsy, replies, "Yeah. Goddess of the lightning in my head."

Pele Pele (pronounced "pell-ay") is the fire goddess of Hawaii, and is powerful and even destructive. According to legend, she resides in a crater in the volcano of Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island. The story goes that she was one of six daughters and seven sons. She came from Tahiti, but the reasons for her travel from there to Hawaii vary from legend to legend. One says that she was restless and needed to move. Another says that she left Tahiti to flee from her sister, an ocean goddess, whose husband she had stolen. And ...

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