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Elissa's Odyssey (Phoenix Rising Trilogy #2)

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Sometimes all you want to do is to go home. . . .

In the sequel to Elissa’s Quest, Elissa’s Gift is not only growing in power . . . it’s changing. Elissa could always speak to animals, but now she’s able to control other things in the natural world. When Elissa becomes separated from her friend Maya—and her faithful donkey, Gertrude—she embarks on a perilous voyage that introduces her to others who have special Gifts, too. It’s as if an unseen ...

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Elissa's Odyssey (Phoenix Rising Trilogy #2)

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Overview

Sometimes all you want to do is to go home. . . .

In the sequel to Elissa’s Quest, Elissa’s Gift is not only growing in power . . . it’s changing. Elissa could always speak to animals, but now she’s able to control other things in the natural world. When Elissa becomes separated from her friend Maya—and her faithful donkey, Gertrude—she embarks on a perilous voyage that introduces her to others who have special Gifts, too. It’s as if an unseen hand is guiding her to the pieces of the prophecy . . . the prophecy of the Phoenix.

In this second title in the Phoenix Rising trilogy, readers will continue to root for Elissa—a fabulous, strong girl character—as she makes her way toward her destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Elissa is a remarkable young woman. After her adventures in Verrillo's first [of the trilogy] book, Elissa's Quest, Verrillo's heroine has managed to escape from the Citadel of Kahn. Now, guided by the Blue People, she and her new friend Maya, plus a donkey named Gertrude, are hoping to reach Gravesport and sea passage back home to Castlemar and her father Falk. But her traveling is not all that makes this character compelling. Elissa has gifts: she can communicate with any animal, and now she discovers she can coax a flower bud to bloom as well as empathize with plants and trees. When Elissa is separated from Maya and Gertrude, she works her way to Gravesport by cooking for the crew of the Swamp Maiden. There, she makes more friends—the ship's captain, Doc, Billy, and Favian, a mysterious aristocrat. Then there is the friend she rescues after reuniting with Maya and Gertrude—Aesha the Windsinger. Elissa faces dangers and mysteries as well: Serena, the child-ghost who sends her to Mama Red Flag; the gypsy; shadowy, hooded figures who possess steel weapons that belch lightning; and a one-eyed man with a grudge. The book is an absorbing page-turner. Verrillo's characters are finely drawn and this second book manages to leave the reader hanging with its final line. Young adult readers are bound to enjoy this second title of the "Phoenix Rising Trilogy" and, while this book is a good read, they will get much more out of it if they read Elissa's Quest first. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Having escaped from the Khan and traveled across the desert, Elissa continues her journey to be reunited with her father. She and her friend Maya arrive in the strange city of Alhamazar and board a ship bound for Gravesport. However, when Elissa sneaks ashore, she becomes lost in the marketplace and is left behind. Rescued by a kindhearted sailor, she is promised safe passage and a job as cook aboard the ramshackle Swamp Maiden . Along the way, Elissa and the crew help a mysterious young noble displaced from his country, elude gun smugglers, outrun a dangerous one-eyed man, and free a captive Windsinger (who can raise the wind with her voice). Throughout, Elissa feels her magical abilities growing: she can now communicate with plants as well as animals and uses this newfound knowledge to help her friends. The ending sets up the sequel nicely. This adventure story is filled with humor, endearing characters, and mild fantasy elements. However, children unfamiliar with Elissa's Quest (Delcoarte, 2007) will want to read it first in order to better understand the characters.-Ginny Collier, Dekalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA

Kirkus Reviews
Elissa's (endless) quest, which just kind of...stopped at the end of Book One, continues at a stately pace in Book Two. She leaves the desert and the protection of the Blue People but misses her own boat and must voyage on the Swamp Maiden with its cast of colorful characters. Elissa discovers that her Gift of understanding the speech of animals extends to plants, and she saves herself and her companions from evil men with firesticks by bidding the vines to bind them. The young Count Favian and Elissa dance around each other's shyness and arrogance, and when, finally, they come to meet Elissa's father Lord Falk once again and are about to go home-well, that's for Book Three. While tiresome and plodding, with little characterization and clunky dialogue, anyone who got through the first part of the story will probably want to know what happens next (although they can probably guess). (Fantasy. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375839481
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Series: Phoenix Rising Trilogy Series , #2
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Erica Verrillo is a world traveler who has worked and studied in a variety of fields. She has worked primarily as a teacher of languages, public speaking, linguistics, and music. She lives in Massachusetts with her two children.

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Read an Excerpt

Elissa's Odyssey

Phoenix Rising #2


By Erica Verrillo Random House Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2008 Erica Verrillo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780375939488


The Ancient One sat before her hearth, waiting. It had been eight months since she had sent the Seeker into the world. The Ancient One threw another log on the fire, measuring with her eyes the length of time it took to turn the brown tree flesh into white bone. As she watched the flames devour the wood, she counted silently: One, two, three, four, five. She did not know, or care, what she was counting–minutes, months, miles. What did measurements matter if one was cold ?
What is taking her so long? she wondered. I haven’t got all millennium.
She jabbed her crooked stick impatiently into the fire.
“Here!” she said, dredging the stick through the tiny mountains and valleys of glowing cinders. “Go here, and here!”
But even as she mapped the long, meandering route–southward and then eastward–it was covered under a desert of shifting ash.
The Ancient One shook her head. “You’ll go where I tell you to go,” she muttered. And with a patience born of desperation, she traced the Seeker’s path again . . . and again, and again.

***
Some say the world is flat, like a plate, while others insist the world is round, like a bean pot. However, as all properly educated people know,the world is actually shaped like a bowl, gently sloping downward and inward, cupping the land and sea securely within its edges. At the far northern rim of this bowl lies a ring of mountains so high that no human being has ever scaled them. These mountains hold up the sky, preventing it from falling down and crushing the earth. All the lands in which people dwell are beautiful, from the tiniest forest glade to the loftiest mountain, for any land that provides a home is lovely to the eye–with the possible exception of the Great Desert.
Those who have never lived among its shifting sands say that the Great Desert has a face only a mother could love. Pocked, pitted, strewn with boulders, creased with barren gullies and ravines, bruised by the hot sun, and scarred by fierce sandstorms, the desert is a land loved by few and feared by many. But those who do love the ugliest of Nature’s faces do so with all their hearts. They are known as the Blue People, a people whose spirits are as vast and unyielding as the desert they defend, for, like the desert, they cannot be conquered.
Anyone choosing to cross the desert may do so only with the permission, and usually in the company, of the Blue People. To attempt such a journey alone is to risk a slow, agonizing death, as the desert likes to hide its life-giving waters from strangers. The other risks–being captured by slave traders or bitten by poisonous snakes–pale in comparison to death by thirst. The Blue men are unsurpassed as guides and invincible as warriors, for life in the desert is harsh and a knowledge of where and how to strike is as useful for a Blue man as it is for a cobra. Most people prefer to avoid both.
Elissa was not in a position to avoid either.
The Blue People were leading her and Maya to safety, and the snakes liked to cuddle up with her at night. Being chased across the desert, bombarded by sandstorms, nearly dying of thirst, and having to confront the Khan single-handedly–not to mention his army–was far more trying than this relatively dull journey to Alhamazar. Nevertheless, after weeks of eating sand, shaking affectionate reptiles out of her boots, and being jostled around on top of Ralph’s swaying hump, Maya and Elissa were both ready for a change. Even more so Gertrude, who, in the absence of fresh pasture, had lapsed into a determined, sullen silence. The miserable donkey hardly gave Ralph a twitch of her tail in spite of the camel’s many hopeful, but completely futile, attempts to lure her into conversation.
“How much farther?” Elissa had not meant to ask the question aloud, but Ralph, with his sharp ears, had heard her. The camel craned his neck around and turned his gorgeous eyes to Elissa.
“We are not far from our destination,” he said. “Are you ladies sufficiently comfortable? Would you like me to halt?”
Elissa answered quickly, before Ralph could offer them a picnic, a brisk walk, a game of cards, some tea. “No, don’t stop. Please. We’re fine. Really.”
Ralph continued on, but the truth was that they were not fine. Maya had not looked well since they had left the oasis. As Maya leaned her cheek against the pommel, Elissa could see that her eyes were closed. But Elissa knew she was not sleeping. Looking at her little companion, Elissa could plainly see the toll the dry desert heat had taken on Maya over the last few weeks. Her eyes had sunken into dark little pockets, and they had lost their shine. For Maya’s sake, she hoped that Ralph had an accurate sense of distance.


From the Hardcover edition.

Continues...

Excerpted from Elissa's Odyssey by Erica Verrillo Copyright © 2008 by Erica Verrillo. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 19 )
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(18)

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2008

    Loved it!!!

    What a great book! I finished the first book in the trilogy - also wonderful - not too long ago, and was thrilled that the second book was already out. In the second book, Elissa travels through the Great Swamp aboard the Swamp Maiden, a glorified raft with a truly hilarious crew. The Great Swamp is a limitless expanse of jungle filled with exotic animals, like Shadow and Night,and dangerous cutthroats. As always Elissa shows true spunk when she tackles a gang of poachers, but by now her powers have grown so much that she is in danger of losing control. To make matters more complicated, the dashing young Count Favian is starting to suspect that Elissa is not what she appears to be. Keeping her magical Gift a secret is becoming difficult, but it seems Favian has a dark secret of his own. Besides all the great characters and exciting plot, what I liked about this book is that everything about it is believable. Elissa is a typical young teen, with all the problems teens have at that age, but she is still magical. It's the blend of fantasy and realism that makes these books so special. I can't wait for the next book to come out!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2008

    Elissa's Odyssey: Phoenix Rising #2

    I LOVED this book!! I'd say it was even better than the first book in the trilogy, except that it was so different you really can't compare the two. In Elissa's Odyssey, Elissa gets stranded in Alhamazar and then has to find her own way to Gravesport. With the help of the colorful crew of the leaky Swamp Maiden, she makes her way through the Great Swamp, where she rescues the insufferable-but handsome-Count Favian, befriends two black jaguars, and single-handedly defeats a villainous group of poachers. Everything about this book was wonderful - the plot, the characters, and the bite-your-nails ending! Verrillo's writing is smooth, engaging and a joy to read. The descriptions are so vivid you feel like you are there. This is definitely not your average children's book. I can't wait for the next installment of Elissa's travels.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    Elissa's Odyssey - DELIGHTFUL!

    Contrary to Kirkus Reviews I found 'Elissa's Odyssey' a delightful sequel to 'Elissa's Quest. During her further adventures, Elissa unwittingly attunes even more to her gift. Once again we are immersed in Elissa's magical reality and experience her insight, compassion and good humor. After being led by the Blue People through the desert, Elissa and Maya arrive in Alhamazar. Elissa's desire to buy Maya a present takes her on an adventure in which they are separated and she is set on a circuitous river journey while hired on as a cook in a haphazard boat called the Swamp Maiden. The crew includes the loveable Billy, the kind Cappy and the insightful Doc as well as another character with a 'gift', Count Favian of Leonne. this detour provides the crucible for her evolving knowledge as she forges deeper understanding about people, animals and spirits, as well as her own personal power. As Elissa learns more about the world beyond High Crossing and how tenuous its fabric is we take in the allegory and wonder what can save it from the social and climatic ills that plague it. Also, let us not forget the ancient one who keeps the fire. Verrillo's prose is beautiful and poetic, her philosophy a needed perspective in these troubled times.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    Elissa's Odyssey: Phoenix Rising #2

    Elissa's Odyssey is a great read. It's one of those books you just don't want to put down. The characters are likable and engaging. Even the ones you only meet for a chapter stick in your mind, like Mama Red Flag. And Billy, the direction-impaired deck hand of the Swamp Maiden, was hilarious. But Favian was my favorite. The first book of the trilogy didn't have a young male character. But Favian is perfect. He's darker than the other characters and a little more complicated. I also really liked his interactions with Elissa. I'm looking forward to reading more about him in the next book. I am sure it will be just as exciting and funny as the first two. I'd recommend this book to anybody, even people who don't fall in the age group.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    My idea of a perfect children's book

    I'm reading Elissa's Odyssey to my grand-daughter. It's a wonderful book - well-written and entertaining. Best of all, it's what a children's book should be. It's funny, has a touch of mystery and is free of the dark side of humanity. I would recommend it to readers of all ages. Elissa is a reminder of the magic that still resides within us all.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com

    Summertime is the travel season for most, and an ideal time to pick up ELISSA'S ODYSSEY, the second book of the PHOENIX RISING trilogy. <BR/><BR/>After making their escape from the evil ruler, Kahn, Princess Elissa, her constant companion and lifelong confidant, Gertrude the donkey, Ralph the camel, and Elissa's new friend, Maya, are led across the Great Oasis by the Blue People of the southern desert, to the city of Alhamazar as the group continue with their quest to return Elissa and Maya to their respective homelands. <BR/><BR/>Elissa's journey home has barely begun when she is cruelly separated from her friends and must make her own way to the seaside town of Gravesport. It is only when she meets outgoing but directionally-challenged deck hand Billy Buck, the dispossessed Count Favian of Leonne, Doc and Captain of the dodgy vessel called Swamp Maiden, that the next leg of Elissa's adventure truly begins. <BR/><BR/>It's the individual personalities and relationships between Erica Verrillo's quirky, charming characters that make the travelogue across a foreign world of magic and fantasy so engaging -- though followers of the series should note, most of this installment is spent getting to know Elissa's new companions rather than those from the first book. Taken as a whole, ELISSA'S ODYSSEY is a delightful adventure for readers young and old.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    A Cut Above the Rest

    I bought this book, along with Elissa's Quest - the first book in the Phoenix Rising trilogy - for my daughter. We both fell in love with Elissa at first sight. Not only is she beautiful and clever, she's GREEN. Unlike so many other books that children are reading nowadays (in which the message seems to be "shop, shop, shop!"), the bottom line in both these books is to care for our planet. Isn't it about time we had a "green" heroine for our children? As an added plus, the characters are memorable, the plot engaging, and the writing beautiful. I heartily recommend both Elissa's Quest and Elissa's Odyssey to anyone who is ready for change. Keep it up, Verrillo!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Even Better Than the First!!

    Elissa's Odyssey was even better than Elissa's Quest, which is hard for me to believe, because I thought Elissa's Quest was fantastic. (The only thing I don't like abut this book is the cover. Elissa doesn't look like herself.) In this book, Elissa travels through the Great Swamp aboard the Swamp Maiden and has loads of adventures in the jungle. She runs into some truly nasty men with guns, saves a count, rescues a beautiful, unearthly non-human, and has to dash over the rooftops of Gravesport to escape the cruel One-eyed Man. Now that two more magical characters have been introduced, Favian of Leonne and Aesha Windsinger, I am really curious to see how the prophecy will turn out in the last book! Can't wait!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Fabulous!

    This is a fabulous book!! Elissa's gets stranded in Alhamazar (a tense moment) looking for a gift for Maya, and runs into Billy, a huge sailor who is not too bright but has a good heart. She hitches a ride aboard the Swamp Maiden as their cook with the idea of catching up with Maya in Gravesport. But the voyage aboard the Swamp Maiden turns out to be longer than she expects as they meander through the Great Swamp, trying to avoid tax collectors, "stingers" (which will knock you out with one sting), poachers, and poisonous snakes. In her travels Elissa rescues the very cool Count Favian (who is obnoxious but cute) and Aesha Windsinger, who both have magical powers. The action picks up when they are chased across the slippery rooftops of Gravesport by a crazy one-eyed man, and ends in a stable where... I won't say what comes next. But the story ends well. This book was faster paced than the first one. And the new characters were wonderful. I'm going to be biting my nails until the next book comes out. (A word to the wise - you have to read the books in order.)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    A Good Read for All Ages

    This book is a very good read for just about anyone (unless you like blood and guts). The humor is lightly ironic at times, more slapstick at others, which is why my daughter and I laughed in different places. (The point is, we both laughed.) The writing is almost poetic, sometimes quite beautiful, but the plot is strong and the characters engaging. I find little Maya to be particularly appealing. These books, both Elissa's Quest and Elissa's Odyssey (in that order) would make good Christmas gifts. A nice way to while away those long, dark days of mid-winter.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Wow!

    This book was even better than the first one. In Elissa's Odyssey, Elissa gets separated from Maya and Gertrude and has to make the rest of the journey to Gravesport by herself. Well, not precisely. She hooks up with the crew of the Swamp Maiden (a boat that is in constant danger of sinking) and makes her way slowly through the Great Swamp. In the Great Swamp she rescues Count Favian of Leonne, a new magical character with a chip on his shoulder, and confronts a group of drunk poachers who are out for blood. At this point Elissa realizes her powers are growing - dangerously. It seems like they are controlling her, and she needs to make a choice. Will she use them wisely, or use them for vengeance? I liked this book because it had a nice blend of adventure, great characters, and a personal moral dilemma. I am looking forward to reading the last book in the trilogy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    Anonymous

    Elissa's Odyssey was probably just as good as the first one in the series. Actually, it was even better. I'm already getting the next and final book World's end. For readers who enjoy suspense and magic, I suggest this book. Five stars for meeting beyond my expectations!

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Book for Children

    I have two daughters who love to read, and who read far in advance of their years. Finding books that are up to their reading level but appropriate for their age group has always been a problem. The Phoenix Rising trilogy has been a welcome addition to our library. The books, Elissa's Quest and Elissa's Odyssey, are advanced enough in vocabulary and concepts to completely absorb my daughters but without the inappropriate material so often found in books written for teens. (And younger!) As a pleasant surprise, I enjoyed them as well! The books are humorous, tightly crafted, and very life-affirming. Highly recommended.

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    Posted December 15, 2008

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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    Posted November 27, 2010

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    Posted November 18, 2008

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    Posted September 1, 2009

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    Posted October 14, 2008

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