Friday 10 April 2015

Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope

Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope Anne Plichota and Cendrine Wolf (Puskin Press)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 9781782690351

Reviewed by Yvonne Mes

Stubborn, smart, and impulsive, 13-year old Oksa suddenly develops special powers at the same time as a star-shaped mark appears on her stomach. She is going to need her developing powers when she discovers that she is a Gracious, princess of Edefia, and member of a small group fleeing from harm and now locked outside the realm of Edefia. As the last hope of her people, Oksa gets plenty of opportunity to test her new powers when the evil Ocious, also locked in the outside world, needs Oksa to get back in.

Luckily she is not alone; she has a caring but over-anxious father, her grandmother who is also a Gracious, a very normal and unsuspecting mother, her best friend, Gus, and a range of magical creatures with a very high ‘Dobby’ quality, and even more magical family members.

There are potions and lotions made from plants brought in from Edefia such as anxiety-stricken plants prone to fainting. Every self-respecting Edefian has a Granok-Shooter, able to shoot a variety of magical beans with a range of spectacular spell-like effects and soon Oksa has her own arsenal.

The story is action-packed, there are mysteries to be solved, there is a school, there are bullies and villains and life and death situations, and loyalties and magic. Does this remind you of something?
I couldn’t help but to compare it to Harry Potter which only got stronger as the book progressed. No wonder this story was a big hit with readers when it was originally self-published. It was the fans, apparently looking for the new Harry Potter, who demanded this book be recognised.

This is the first book in a six-part series which has now sold over half a million copies in 27 countries and was written by two Strassbourg librarians.

This female Harry Potter set in a elaborate fantasy setting is sure to delight and enthral young readers.

Yvonne Mes is a children's writer and illustrator. Her fpicture book, Meet Sidney Nolan (Random House) and Oliver’s Grumbles (Dragon Tales Publishing) are scheduled for release in October 2015.

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