Northlander (Tales of the Borderlands Series #1)

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Editorial Reviews

Despite the fact that Northlanders persecute Southlanders for their magical healing powers, a Southland healer agrees to help the ailing Northland king. Once cured, the king imprisons the healer and his sixteen-year-old daughter, Ellin, even though they have befriended the five Northlander princes. They escape with the help of Ellin's newly awakened psychic powers, which she has also just learned are outlawed in her native Southlands. When the "guardians" come to take Ellin away, her father sacrifices himself so that she can escape. She then falls in with a gang of "True Southlings," or psychics, with a sinister plan to change the laws that make them outlaws in both countries. This first novel from an author who participates in online science fiction fandom (under a pseudonym) reads like fan fiction: The background that makes good fantasy so compelling is only vaguely and unsatisfactorily sketched in. Key points in the melodramatic plot seem to arise merely for authorial convenience and force the characters to act against type, leading readers to wonder whether a concerned father would withhold information that could save his daughter's life. Bantering dialogue and distracting gestures substitute for real characterization, as eyes frequently "widen in surprise" and everyone sighs and shrugs constantly. The True Southling plot owes much to the X-Men, and their scheme to change the world is comic-book preposterous. The book ends with closure but leaves room for a promised sequel. All but the most extensive fantasy collections should skip this one. Reviewer: Tracy Piombo
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9- As this absorbing fantasy begins, 16-year-old Southlander Ellin is trapped in the Northlands with her healer father, who was summoned to help the dying ruler. She begins to discover her own powers and cures King Allard herself, but they are forced to remain until he is completely recovered. Although Southlanders are scorned in this inhospitable climate, Ellin befriends Allard's sons. After the king awakens and imprisons her and her father for practicing "Southling witchcraft," the princes help them escape. Back home, Guardians (government agents) try to capture Ellin because she is "tainted"-possessed of forbidden telepathic powers. They kill her father and she flees into the forest. She is rescued by a small band of resistance fighters who plan to use their mind-controlling powers to compel the Northlanders to wage war against the Guardians and allow the rebel group to take control of the country. Ellin must use her skills to mentally defeat these self-proclaimed "True Southlanders" and save her Northlander friends from mental annihilation. The author's careful attention to everyday details builds a richly believable fantasy world with a medieval flair. A strong heroine, Ellin matures as the narrative progresses. There is plenty of action, danger, and page-turning suspense, and issues of prejudice and persecution are well handled. Science-fiction fans will appreciate the threat of mind control as a weapon. A satisfying ending with a hint of future romance will have readers eagerly awaiting the sequel.-Quinby Frank, Green Acres School, Rockville, MD

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976812685
  • Publisher: Brown Barn Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Series: Tales of the Borderlands Series , #1
  • Pages: 252
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for

    The Southling Ellin has been summoned with her father to the Northland kingdom. In a land where they are despised for their red hair and feared for their magic, their hand in the healing of the Northland king is a secret. However, the healing powers that have been banned by law may be the only thing that can save the ailing king. <BR/><BR/>On a crucial night, Ellin must fight against the prejudice that threatens to keep her from fulfilling the oaths that her father, as a healer, took, and that she will take on the day she is of age. Her determination manages to pull the monarch through the worst, but, while she learns that the potential for peace among individual Northlands and Southlings exists, she and her father are forbidden to return to their homeland until the king regains consciousness. <BR/><BR/>The friendships that she forges will bring her through a time when all she once understood about her life is destroyed, and she must find a way to come to terms with the power she's inherited and the truth she has grown to understand before a war sweeps away everything she has left. <BR/><BR/>I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and recommend it to all who have found themselves on both sides of a drawn line. The characters are easy to identify with, and the plot rich and relevant. I will be keeping an eager eye out for Book Two.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    Really Great New Book

    We read Northlander for a Teen Book Club that we belong to and all of us really loved it. It was very different from any other fantasy we've read - which made it all the more exciting. 'Actually a couple of us read it in one night!' Our Club highly recommends this book and... We can't wait until Book Two is out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    A smart, independent heroine

    Northlander is a book I couldn't put down. I was pulled into the harsh land that Meg Burden has created and lived with Ellin, the heroine, through the dangers that surround her on all sides, including her own homeland. I heartily recommend it for anyone who likes good fantasy with smart, independent heroines.

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