When Trei loses his family in a tragic disaster, he must search out distant relatives in a new land. The Floating Islands are unlike anything Trei has ever seen: stunning, majestic, and graced with kajurai, men who soar the skies with wings.
Trei is instantly sky-mad, and desperate to be a kajurai himself. The only one who fully understands his passion is Araene, his newfound cousin. Prickly, sarcastic, and gifted, Araene has a secret of her own . . . a dream a girl cannot attain.
Trei and Araene quickly become conspirators as they pursue their individual paths. But neither suspects that their lives will be deeply entwined, and that the fate of the Floating Islands will lie in their hands. . . .
Filled with rich language, and told in alternating voices, The Floating Islands is an all-encompassing young adult fantasy read.
Neumeier (The City in the Lake) introduces readers to a fascinating new world in this epic tale of aspiration and destiny told in alternating perspectives. After losing his immediate family in a volcanic eruption, Trei finds a new home with his mother's kin, who dwell in the Floating Islands. There, he discovers his one great ambition: to become one of the kajuraihi, who ride the air currents on winged harnesses powered by the same dragon magic that keeps the Islands aloft. He becomes close with his cousin Araen , who chafes at the social restrictions placed on women and yearns to master the culinary arts reserved for men to study. As Trei joins the kajuraihi as an initiate, circumstances force Araen to disguise herself as a boy and enroll in the hidden school of the mages. When the empire of Tolounn tries to invade the Floating Islands, both cousins are drawn into the battle, each tested and pushed to their limits, with surprising results. Complex and memorable characters, lush imagery, and a vividly constructed setting make this fantasy adventure soar. Ages 12 up.