The Cloud Road by Isobelle Carmody
Penguin Books, 2013. ISBN 9780075188. 289p
Well recommended for young readers. The Cloud Road is the second in The Kingdom of the Lost series. Written for younger readers, this fantasy-adventure takes Bily and Zluty and Redwing their navigating bird away from their home after the 'arosh', a storm of red stones destroyed their home and all around them. That strange storm had brought Monster into their cellar. It was half dead, an 'enormous beast (with) long, deadly, claw-tipped paws and a red maw full of teeth as long and sharp as daggers' p6. They placed the Monster in the wagon and set off to find water, which the Monster said would be beyond the desert they needed to cross.
Carmody entices the young reader to wonder what the 'arosh', 'whiteout', 'the Makers', the 'Monks' and the 'diggers' might really be. Perhaps there's a lesson for everyone when Bily says, 'Now I think we must live by the rules of the places we come to' p143.
It's an intriguing tale of brotherly love, friendship and trust with good triumphing almost over evil. That's left to book three. Her use of descriptive and unusual language formations enriches the fantasy. Carmody encourages her readers to think about the visual images and to use the language that inspires. As adults we might use snow but here they are 'coldwhites'. Readers will be keen to read The Velvet City.