Thursday 11 November 2021

Deltora Quest, (21st Anniversary Edition)

Deltora Quest, (21st Anniversary Edition) by Emily Rhodda (Scholastic Australia) HB RRP $29.99 ISBN 978 1 760977405

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

The much-loved first series of eight books is bound in this volume, celebrating 21 years of Deltora magic and mystery by award-winning master story-teller Emily Rodda.


This perilous quest follows Leif, Barda, and Jasmine as they try and find the seven lost gems of the Belt of Deltora. They follow a map of Deltora which they use to try and defeat and overcome the evil Shadow Lord and his rule of tyranny. The sprawling kingdom is filled with magic and monsters, bordered by the sea and a vast, curving mountain range, that protects the unknown territory called the Shadowlands. Lief, Barda and Jasmine trust each other and work together to solve puzzles, clues and mysteries.


This series is as relevant today as when it was written. It shows that good can triumph over evil and leaves the reader with hope. The writing really shines. Rats in their thousands – in their tens of thousands! Suddenly Lief understood why the earth of the plain was bare. The rats had eaten every living thing. The detailed planning, sequencing, characterisation, and plot development make this quest one that hooks readers.


The three teenage characters have strengths and weaknesses, and their internal journey is as important as their external one. The fantasy world is both believable and imaginative. Rhodda supports and builds the fantasy world with each chapter. The longer and shorter sentences pace the action and each chapter is titled appropriately. The size of each chapter allows a reader to determine how little or how much they want to read in a sitting. The ending is surprising and satisfying. ‘Prison walls can fall’ Lief said softly. ‘Gardens can become forests. Del can be beautiful once.


Emily Rhodda uses plots twists, red herrings, and foreshadowing masterfully in this fantasy genre. This series was first published in Australia in 2000, and has since been published in more than 30 countries. The series has sold over 18 million copies worldwide. Deltora Quest is the collective title for three distinct series of children’s fantasy books, Delora Quest, Deltora Quest 2 and Deltora Quest 3 comprising 15 books in total. The series is marketed for 8- to 14-year-old readers, but it can appeal to any age. This is one of the best fantasy quest series ever written.

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