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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Island Girl is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy genre and serves as the first book in the Strands of Existence series. It is aimed at older readers and comes with a content warning for threats of sexual violence. It was penned by Aino Lahteva. The story follows the character Istrae who has gone through a traumatic journey to leave her island home behind and visit the city of Kerth, which isn’t the paradise she was led to believe. As she recovers from her injuries, she begins to realize that the rigid rules of the city may not allow for someone with her free spirit to exist peacefully.
Island Girl is the first book in the Strands of Existence fantasy series, and it sets the tone magnificently. One of the most enjoyable things about this novel was the characters and how realistic and nuanced they felt. The protagonist Istrae is a particularly strong character, and I enjoyed her humour and fierceness which I felt made me root for her from the very first page. The supporting characters are no different to Istrae in that all the characters feel fully formed and have depth and flaws, even if they only appear briefly. Author Aino Lahteva is a master at world-building, and Kerth, the setting for the story, felt well thought out and intricate, making it easy for me to envision that I was there with the characters. Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this novel to fans of epic fantasy novels, and those looking for stories with a rich and diverse cast of characters.