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Reviewed by Janelle Fila for Readers' Favorite
Ilmarinen by Marilla Mulwane is a young adult fantasy about Altana Burrows, a special girl who is more than just smart and talented. She has a secret that no one else understands, a secret called Ilmarinen. Altana has a role to play in an old prophecy. The people of Ilmarinen want to help her in her quest, so Altana quickly assembles a team to accompany her on her dangerous and adventurous journey. The characters in this story are vivid and imaginative: a gorgeous woman who is captivating in her red dress, a small girl with an enormous ax, a talking horse, and a young hunter with a secret that threatens them all. Can Altana fulfill the prophecy with the help of her rag tag team of friends? How will they survive? And more importantly, just how do the people of Ilmarinen expect them to kill a god?
Readers will love the characters in this story, especially the dialogue and quick witted banter than takes place between Altana, Bisha, Neri, and Garrick. Readers will love Altana, and her strong female lead, and the interesting and entertaining sidekicks. The story even has a cute little cat girl to give it some much needed humor and take away from the constant seriousness and dire situation within the book. Although this story is spread over a long time period, it doesn't feel that way to the reader. The reader is constantly engaged and invested in what the characters say and do, which is a very good skill in the writing.