This is a book that requires a lot of patience from its readers. As pretty to look at, as stretched the story is inside. I wanted to read it because I liked the cover design and the gorgeous illustrations on some pages and the summary had made me curious. The girl on the right reminded me somehow of a Games of Thrones figure with her white long hair and her hairstyling in general. Well …

Rulantica-Die Verborgene Insel*
by Michaela Hanauer
Rulantica Series #1
Illustration Helge Vogt
Publisher Coppenrath on October 1, 2019
Genre Fantasy
Pages 332
Format Hardcover
Source Library 

Rulantica is hidden behind an impenetrable wall of fog - the island world is home to the sea people. But a curse from the gods threatens them. When the sea girl Aquina learns that she has a brother in the human world and that he is in mortal danger because of the curse, she plunges headlong into an adventure. What Aquina has no idea is that when they meet, the siblings trigger an ancient prophecy - and this can mean the downfall for Rulantica ...
Aquina is not happy with her life. Too many things she can´t do the way others can. Too many rules, things she isn´t allowed to do at all and together with her curiosity and eagerness to explore things, trouble isn´t far away. But when she hears that she is one half of a twin couple and that her brother is in great danger, she goes beyond the world she´s ever known and wants to help. The only problem: The human world is totally different from her own and her brother not the kind of boy who wants her help at all.

You should never judge a book by its cover. And I for sure didn´t do that here. But the story itself is, as beautiful as some parts might be, not really something kids are eager to read. Especially with the fact, that for a kid´s taste, too many figures are introduced right at the beginning of the story. Kids want to be haunted by a story right from the very first sentence and kept haunted through the story until the very last word. That is not happening here. Sure, there are chapters, pages, and scenes in the book that are very worthwhile and very entertaining, and you get a glimpse of a wonderful adventure the two main figures are experiencing. 

But on the other hand, you also find too many pages where the story seems to be stretched with unnecessary information and the main figure who turns out to be very impulsive and boring at the same time. The writing style is a bit dull and the reading pace mostly very slow. The gorgeous illustration couldn´t change it for the better, though it was quite fascinating to take a closer look at them.  

Aquina is a little girl who always wants to stretch her boundaries and see what´s on the other side of the fence. She feels overprotected, wants to explore the world, especially the world where the humans live and´s curious beyond what´s good for her. She is also very naïve and impulsive. First act then think seems to be her motto. She reminded me very much of Arielle. Yes, Aquina doesn´t look the same, but the rest of her character is very similar to the Disney figure. 

Sad. But most of the story is filled with too many details which turned out to be too boring for kids to keep reading. Additional to that the plot is also stuffed with way too many figures to keep track of everything. The last third of the book is filled with tension, action and a very diverse plot that showed, if the author would have managed to keep that from the start, the book could have been a page-turner as well as a five-star novel. Sadly, it wasn´t. Only an average rating in the end. And I am not sure if I will read the second book too, although the plot for that could play in a place that was only shown briefly in this one.

Happy reading

*This book was, at the time this review was published, only available in the German language.

Michaela Hanauer
Michaela Hanauer ©robra

Michaela Hanauer was born in 1969 just before Christmas - a very awkward date for birthday parties and summer gifts. If she hadn't become a children's book author, then a detective would definitely be! Behind a locked iron gate or in an old chest, she has always suspected a secret that needed to be revealed. She helped her friends find lost keys, thieves, defended food supplies against goats while camping, and told many, many stories around the campfire. After completing her studies, she worked for a publishing house before starting her own business. She lives in Munich with her husband and cat Wuschel when she is not traveling to explore the other end of the world.


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