“Not so long ago—a little less than fifty years ago—everyone lived above the clouds on the squat Mount Lemuel to the northeast of
their valley. Adwin made that mountain and oversaw everything and everyone on it. He was kind and peaceful and taught the people to be kind and peaceful as well. However, his benevolence did not stop a young man named Damien from seeking power for himself. Rather than be forced off his mountain by Damien’s growing army, Adwin left the mountain of his own accord. He climbed down the mountain to a beautiful valley, trailed by a small band of followers, and thus Adia was formed.”–Kingdom Above the Cloud, pp. 22
Kingdom Above the Cloud by Maggie Platt, the first book in the Tales from Adia series, tells the story of Tovi Tivka. Having grown up in the valley of Adia, she’s heard the legends of the old king Adwin her whole life. But after the disappearance of her twin brother, she begins to question all she’s been taught. When she meets a stranger in the woods who tells her of the kingdom at the top of the mountain, she decides to go in search of her brother. Instead, Tovi finds herself trapped with more questions than answers, unsure of who she can trust.
In this engaging new YA fantasy, Platt explores themes of doubt, faith, and identity through relatable characters in a unique world.
Kingdom Above the Cloud boasts fantastic world-building. In any good fantasy, the creation of a unique setting makes the story inviting. And the world found in the valley of Adia and on Mount Damien certainly delivers. The scenery and societies Maggie Platt describes are simple enough to easily imagine, yet detailed enough to make a full and captivating landscape. Her story draws the reader in with a village of tree houses and rope bridges, a city of golden rooftops, and a vibrant forest in between. The imagery paints an abundance of beautiful visuals for the mind’s eye to enjoy.
Another great element of the story is the way Platt weaves Christian themes into the plot. Though allegorical, Kingdom Above the Cloud allows the symbolism in the story to speak for itself. The themes are subtle enough that the characters and events don’t become predictable, and yet the Biblical images shine through clearly. Platt makes her representations of Christian truths plain, yet natural within the story world.
The relatability of the characters also adds depth to the story. The main character, Tovi, struggles with the same doubts that many of us face. And those around her encourage Tovi to ask her questions without trying to provide hollow answers. The internal conflict of Tovi and the characters around her hold as much importance to the story as the outward conflict. And through those conflicts, the readers have the opportunity to find themselves.
Evenly-paced with plot twists and surprises, this books sets the stage for an exciting series ahead.
Though it starts off a little slowly, the pace allows for important details to gradually unfold. The reader experiences the world before plunging into the main conflict. And by the end of the tale, the reader’s left hanging on the edge of her seat, eager for the next book.
Overall, the relatable characters, clear themes, and strong world-building make this book well-worth reading. I’d give it four out of five stars. If you enjoy Christian fiction, YA fantasy, or both, I’d recommend checking it out!
(If you’d like to pick up a copy, you can find Kingdom Above the Cloud on Amazon.)
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Ambassador International in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.*