Gularian Islands by Tracey C. Ayres

The Synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old Ben Mason has known for some time hes a little bit different than other people. It isnt until traveling back to Australia from a holiday in the United States he discovers just how true that is. Ben and his friends are flying home when their airplane crashes on a remote island. Guided by the captain, the passengers try to stay alive and safe until rescue arrives. But Ben feels strange things happening. Soon he meets a boy named Noke who saves Ben from drowning and a swarm of killer bees. Then, twenty-six days into their ordeal, Ben meets Goldevere, a prisoner of the dragon, Black Knight. Goldevere tells Ben he has the gift that can help both of their people and that he needs to find his wife Silver for help. They must work quickly to save the world from the angry black dragon.

I received this book from the author via Reedsy for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


What’s more enthralling than crash-landing on an island in the middle of nowhere, only to discover that there is a whole lot more to the island than meets the eye?

Drawing inspiration from, and adding a fascinating twist to, the story of King Arthur, Gularian Islands is a book of constant mystery and adventure. Opening with Ben and his best mate, Gary, on the plane that is destined to crash, this book rarely stops throwing mysteries and adventure at you as Ben and Gary work to put together the big picture.

Before I read this book, I had been able to read a preview of the first chapter, and that alone drew me in. I couldn’t get the story out of my head and I had to know what happened on this island, so I read it. I’ll begin by saying that I did like it. But, I think it could have used a lot of improvements.

The first half of the book was brilliant! It kept me interested, I had no idea what would happen around the next bend, I had suspicions of certain characters, it truly was a great fantasy story and I was excited to see how Ben and Gary would win this! But then, right as the climax should have begun, the book changed tones and everything got really, easy. Like, before, they were fighting dark magic and struggling to stay alive because of how incredibly powerful their enemy was, but their solution in the end (I’m not going to spoil it!), was an incredible let-down. It’s like the enemy just completely forgot that it had magic and was solved in a way that one would handle an untamed animal.

The last half of the book was also incredibly confusing. Scenes would not quite end before immediately going into the next scene and characters came out of nowhere to help or distract Ben and Gary in their quest, and appear in ways that promised a backstory, only to never be mentioned again. I have so many questions upon ending this book and feel like such a promising story just fell flat. This book doesn’t seem to have a series title either, so I’m not sure if we can expect a sequel or book two in the future.

Overall, I feel like Gularian Islands has all the potential to be a really good book with very memorable characters, but could use some improvement on the ending. So I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I also find it difficult to place the target age group for this book… the main characters are (very young acting) 13 & 14 but the storyline is advanced, so I’d say that it’s a good mix of middle grade and YA.

There is no sexual content and only a few curse words (I counted “h*ll” three or four times and only one or two “dam*”s). The action is very mild and there are only brief description of blood.

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