The Pacific Chronicles

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
156 Pages
Reviewed on 11/18/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Children’s book author James Eldridge and his illustrator brother Richard Eldridge were raised in Hawaii and were inspired to bring the beauty and mythology of their homeland to young readers with their middle-grade fantasy novel, Islanders, the first installment in The Pacific Chronicles series. James is married to the lovely, real-life Kilikina and together they have four children. Richard is married to his childhood friend, and together they have their own island girl.

After a near-fatal experience with COVID in 2021, including forty-five days on a ventilator in the ICU, multiple blood transfusions, being in an induced coma and having several live-saving surgeries, James’s road to recovery was both mentally and physically challenging. He and his brother worked together to bring this story to life, using their home as a background, as a way to focus on something creative and inspiring to help James put the nightmare of COVID behind him.

James and Richard explain that there is a fascinating concept of duality in the animal world in Hawaii: there are native species and invasive species, yet many people (especially visitors) cannot tell the difference. For their series, they enjoy using the idea that these species are secretly at war with each other for control of the island and nearly no humans are aware of it except for a chosen few.

James now lives in Bentonville, Arkansas, while Richard lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. Islanders, book one in The Pacific Chronicles series, is their debut novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

It was Kaimana's idea to go out despite their father's stern warnings. Kilikina did not see herself having any alternative option to her brother's cheeky attempts at adventure. By the time Kaimana was cutting through Chang's backyard, Kilikina knew they were in too deep to go back. After a series of strange events, they are stuck in the bushes with rare abilities but no idea how to get back home. These two children do not realize they are about to become an integral part of a grand mission to save the islands from being overrun by an evil force in Islanders by James Eldridge and Richard Eldridge.

Pacific island culture and impressive storytelling come together in the first book of the Pacific Chronicles Series. As is expected with novels like this, there is a lot of background history where the principal characters are concerned and their place in the overall storyline. One of the first things that stood out for me in this entertaining story is the way James and Richard Eldridge use the local names for practically every item. From plants to animals, and even local delicacies, you are introduced to the rich local lore behind each of them in a manner that lets you know notes need to be taken for future reference. The interaction between the characters is interesting and immersive in a way that adventure genre aficionados will appreciate. Islanders combines folklore with adventure in an exciting way that holds a reader spellbound all through the book. An impressive piece of work by all standards.

Vincent Dublado

The Pacific Chronicles presents The Islanders by James and Richard Eldridge. This story combines island adventure with fantasy and superhero fare. Eleven-year-old Kilikina and her brother, fourteen-year-old Kaimana, are unknowingly given access to a hidden and legendary world in their native O’ahu in the Hawaiian islands. A myna bird explains to them that every few twenty or thirty years, the Ali’i chooses someone, and this time, he has chosen two. The Ali’I only appoints someone if he needs help. Kilikina and Kaimana have been given the gift to speak to any animal they choose, along with other special abilities. Together, the siblings are going to help bring unity in a place where there has been a division for many years, and defend the Valley against a great evil.

The Islanders will strike you as a cross between The Jungle Book and Moana. Growing up on the Big Island and running around Waikoloa, Waimea, Honoka’a, and Mililani, brothers James and Richard Eldridge have a good grasp of the story’s local color as well as the dimensions of their story’s characters. Its brilliant illustrations are an added bonus that lends further life to their referenced locations, people, and creatures from Hawaiian legends. The Islanders is enormously entertaining, and its arrival now gives it an added sense of relevance and inspiration. The siblings experience highs and lows during their adventure, where their brother-and-sister bond is tested and strengthened. The tale deeply respects the myths that have inspired it. It’s a must-read for people of all ages, a series that you will look forward to and recommend to others.

Melanie Kennedy

Islanders: The Pacific Chronicles is book one in the series written by James Eldridge and illustrated by Richard Eldridge. Kilikina and Kaimana are young teenagers living a carefree life on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii. That is until one day they suddenly get struck by a freak flash of lightning. Although luckily they are unharmed, it seems they can now talk to animals! Some nasty rodents chase them into a seemingly ordinary shed, but to Kilikina and Kaimana’s surprise, a whole other magical world exists on the other side. Thanks to two mythical dwarven brothers, the siblings explore the mysterious and other-worldly Hunaia Awāwa. They encounter many animals native to Hawaii and learn to appreciate the harmony the animals live in. As it turns out, the siblings have a lot more in store for them than the simple hike they had planned for the day.

James Eldridge has built such a magical world in his book Islanders. As the first book in the Pacific Chronicles series, it only touches the surface of the great adventure Kilikina and Kaimana are going to have. I have quite a fascination with Greek and Egyptian mythology and was very excited to read about the Hawaiian mythological creatures James decided to add to his book. Richard Eldridge provides beautiful pictures to accompany the story. His illustrations give life to the adventure and immerse the reader in the mystical world of Hunaia Awāwa. I appreciated the definitions James provided for some of the Hawaiian words. That way he could give the book an authentic feel without confusing readers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Islanders and anyone looking for a little adventure will love it too.