Sinéad O’Hart: The Eye of the North (First published by Random House in 2017)
Alex Bell: The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club (Faber & Faber Limited 2017)
Polar fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy where the plot takes place in a cold landscape, often in the far North, and may include creatures that are specific to that area, e.g. the polar bear, but Scandinavian and Slavic folklore elements may also appear in the stories.
Sinéad O’Hart graduated in English and History and have a PhD in Old and Central English Language and Literature. She currently lives near Dublin with her family. She also loves children’s literature as a writer and reader. The Eye of the North is her first book. The protagonist of this book, Emmeline is sent to Paris after her parents’ mysterious disappearance to save her life, however, she has no idea that a deadly danger is lurking on the ship which she is traveling with. Luckily, a stowaway boy comes to her aid, but even so, they may not be able to stop the evil scientist – who is responsible for the disappearance of her parents – from carrying out his plans: he wants to free a mythical creature from the deep… The book is very cinematic: the chapters follow each other as short scenes and they make the plot faster. Unputdownable! The beautiful cover is the work of Sara Mulvanny.
Alex Bell had always wanted to be a writer, but she had several “Plan B-s” in case that wouldn’t work out. She has a law degree and is currently working in a Citizens Advice Bureau. She has already published several books for adults and young adults, but the Polar Bear Explorer’s Club was her first middle grade novel. Our protagonist, Stella’s father, is a successful explorer and has a very big heart. He found the abandoned Stella on one of his expeditions and has loved the little girl as his own daughter ever since. With great difficulty, he manages to get Stella on the expedition with him. There, however, something happens that no one expected and the girl, along with some other children, has to thrive on their own on the ice field. If that weren’t enough, mysterious and dangerous things will lurk around them. The pace of the story is tight and there are some plot twists in it. My favorite was the character of the four kids – by the end of the book, I really liked them all. The story is the first volume in a trilogy and the author began writing another trilogy that takes place in the same world as before. The cover is the work of the Croatian illustrator Tomislav Tomić.