SERIES: Deltora Quest (Books 1 – 8)
LENGTH: 736 pages
GENRES: Fantasy, Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Fiction
PUBLISHER: Omnibus Books (Scholastic Australia)
RELEASE DATE: 2021 (Original editions published 2000)
A special 21st anniversary edition of the best-selling first series of Deltora Quest from award-winning master story-teller Emily Rodda…
Three companions – Leif, Barda and Jasmine – are on a perilous quest to find the seven lost gems of the Belt of Deltora. Only when the belt is complete will the evil Shadow Lord and his rule of tyranny be overcome. Set in the fantasy world of Deltora, a sprawling kingdom of magic and monsters, bordered by the sea and a vast, curving mountain range, beyond which is an unknown territory called the Shadowlands. The adventurers must solve puzzles, clues and mysteries to fulfil the quest.
The much-loved first series of eight books is bound in this volume, celebrating 21 years of Deltora magic and mystery.
So… This review took forever. Sorry about that. (And it wasn’t because I didn’t like it – quite the contrary actually.) The next one hopefully won’t take as long, haha.
This series… This series was something I’ve wanted to read for a long time. As the thumbnail alludes to. But I didn’t discover it until I was about thirteen, and I felt at the time that I was too old to give it a shot. I was also super afraid of being judged by my peers, and I didn’t really have a subtle way of acquiring a chance to read them. I’d suspected that I’d like this series though, so it’s rested in the back of my mind for over a decade.
And now, I’m an adult with no shame and an Amazon account, so both of the perceived hurdles of my early teenhood are gone. So, I read it.
And I really enjoyed it. Yes, it is very clearly a series of books written for ten year olds, and there was a lot of awkward, stilted dialogue (and the author has something against contractions), and there were a couple of huge plot holes, but it was otherwise very enjoyable. I think Deltora Quest is very good. Especially if you consider it’s meant for kids who don’t really notice or care about that stuff. I would’ve given it five stars, had I read it as a tween, and I still rated it pretty highly now.
A long time ago, like on Wikipedia or something, I read that this series was inspired by the videogames that Emily Rodda’s children played. I have no idea whether this was true or not, but I certainly believe it’s possible. The series entire structure is extremely comparable to several fantasy games – The Legend of Zelda in particular comes to mind. (And this is why I’ve always suspected that I’d like it.)
The Characters and Setting
The main characters were pretty likable, though they were a bit simple. They made a lot of very stupid decisions that I’m surprised at, concerning two of them are sixteen (Leif and Jasmine) and one is an adult at least in his thirties (Barda). Though this kind of decision-making did decrease a fair amount in the last couple of books, so I guess that’s character growth.
I thought that Leif was a decent protagonist, and is easy for the reader to root for. His cleverness and sneaky streak were also fun, and I wish they appeared more. Barda worked well as the wiser mentor figure (when he wasn’t being stupid), and he also worked great as the muscle of the group. Jasmine was a great female character, and was definitely the most useful member of the trio in several situations.
I found the setting to be extremely rich and immersive. It’s a credit to Rodda’s writing that this is so despite how short these books are, as well as all of the locations visited. I really loved it.
The Other Stuff
There were also a lot of surprisingly darker aspects throughout. I often forget how dark children’s/middle grade sci-fi and fantasy can get, and Deltora Quest once again reminded me. There’s quite a bit of dying and almost-dying going on, as well as a cult in one of the books, mind control, and some pretty gruesome descriptions. It was a pleasant surprise to read.
However, the “key quest items” that the trio retrieved at the end of each book began to get overpowered. Actually, no, some of them kind of started out overpowered. Leif used the topaz in particular in nearly every book, almost every time he wanted to think up a plan. I just kind of wish he used his own mind as it was and his own ingenuity. It kind of felt like he was “cheating” some a few of these moments.
My Individual Ratings for All the Books in Deltora Quest
So yeah, I quite enjoyed this series, and it was a long time coming. Here are my ratings for each individual book in the series.
There was the topaz, symbol of faithfulness, gold as the setting sun.
There was the ruby for happiness, red as blood.
The opal, symbol of hope, sparkling with all the colours of the rainbow.
There was the lapis lazuli, the heavenly stone, midnight blue with pinpoints of silver like the night sky.
For honour there was the emerald, green as lush grass.
There was the amethyst, symbol of truth, purple as the violets that grew by the banks of the river Del.
And for purity and strength there was the diamond, clear and sparkling as ice.
Where this story began, so it will end.
Deltora Quest is a great little fantasy series. I definitely recommend it to kids, and honestly, anyone could read it. It’s kind of trope-y, and there’s a fairly obvious hero’s journey, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.
As always, thank you to everyone so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day/night! Sorry again for the long wait between book reviews. Life kind of happened.
See ya ~Mar