Review: The Island in the Caldera
In her new young adult novel, Lin Xueling whisks us into a fantasy realm of strange creatures and bizarre happenings where two sisters, Min Rui and Chloe, embark on a perilous journey home through the strange lands of the Island in the Caldera. There, they face ferocious tree dragons, stinky giants, being hungry and tired, and somehow by wit and grit, still manage to survive. It is about helping friends, like a precocious talking cat, and of course, reading lots and lots of books.
Children will find themselves drawn into the world of Min Rui and Chloe, two characters whose struggles to overcome their fears are only too relatable. As the girls embark on their adventures, they find these fears easily triumphed over by the compelling strength of teamwork and bond of sisterhood.
Lin Xueling’s The Island in the Caldera teaches us that being brave isn’t about never being afraid — instead, it is about being scared and yet choosing to take a leap of faith, come what may. Set in real places in our Asian region, this is a story that encapsulates the wondrous wisdom and beauty of Asia through perspectives we would never normally come across, with the re-introduction of real inventions by Asian scientists, and retelling of actual Asian mythology and historical narratives.
The first of a stunning new young adult series, The Island of the Caldera enlightens us to a world of imagination and infinite possibilities that we realise exist not only in this novel but in the many realms of reality we face daily — adventures that tug at the hearts of the only most curious and bravest of us.