||May 1st, 2011
Fantasy/ Adventure story with magic, ancient animals, dinosaurs and time travel. Suitable for 9+.
The Mystery of Nida Valley website
When Meg Sealy woke that fateful morning, she had no idea that by day's end the life she had known would be gone forever.
While saving her best friend, Amanda, fourteen-year-old Meg and her cousin Jaiden stumble upon a secret valley where time stands still. The three friends are thrust into a dangerous world of magic, time travel, and creatures they believed extinct. Here they learn that it is their destiny to use their new magic skills to join the fight to save the valley from an evil break-away order, bent on exploitation.
Follow their journey as undercover villians threaten Meg's life, and they fight to save the animals from extinction.
Meg sat shivering with fear, her back pressed against the cold stone wall of the cave. Sweat trickled down her face. Wiping it away with trembling hands, she listened to the large creature lumbering around. Its heavy steps shook the earth beneath her. Visions of all the strange creatures she had seen in the hidden valley in the last few days flashed before her as she tried to work out what it could be. Amanda and Jaiden huddled up close beside her.
Not able to stand the suspense any longer, Meg peeped over the top of the wall. Shock coursed over her body like an icy shower, chilling her to the core. Her legs folded and she sprawled beside Amanda and Jaiden, shaking her head in disbelief.
‘Meg, what is it?’ Amanda whispered urgently, not sure she wanted to hear the answer.
Review by Author Michael Pryor
The Mystery of Nida Valley joyfully brings us a classic situation – a secret place alongside our world but hidden, a place of magic, adventure and startling inhabitants, but it does so with a welcome twist.
It’s pleasing to find such a fantasy grounded so well in an Australian context. No vague ‘otherworld’ here, The Mystery of Nida Valley is solidly set in Queensland. The primeval creatures that are hidden in the valley are drawn from detailed research of Australia’s rich but neglected palaeontology and add to the consistency of setting. Dangerous creatures lurk, challenges must be overcome, initiations into a secret society of guardians must be undertaken, all against the lush and rich background of the magical valley. Nida Valley is more than a location, it’s a character in its own right.
In other ways, this is a coming of age story, with young people gradually discovering the true nature of their world. The key characters begin as children, protected and unaware. Throughout the book they learn the secrets of the world and their vital role in it. Their transition to awareness is – naturally – a testing one, fraught with perils that are both mundane (political shenanigans) and outlandish (attacks from deadly prehistoric animals). A key to their growth is the discovery of freedom through the means of flight. This exhilarating liberty, however, comes with its own demands and trials, a central part of the book.
The Mystery of Nida Valley is a magical fantasy adventure in a detailed and rich Australian context.
Review by Author Michael Gerard Bauer
It is truly a story that has everything. In it we find time travel, dinosaurs, mythical creatures, Mega fauna from Australia’s past, magic, ghosts, good guys and villains, all wrapped up in a fast-paced action-adventure story with a dash of romance to boot! What young reader isn’t going to find something to love here? But it’s one thing to fill a story with many amazing things and creatures. The real trick is to draw the reader in and make it all believable, engaging and exciting. Elaine has done just that.
The story is set in the lush rainforests of Queensland where the magical and hidden valley of Nida and its strange wildlife have been protected for generation upon generation by a secret group who called themselves The Guardians. It is a world that we want to explore and in which imaginations can run wild. The secret valley with its exotic fauna and flora has a character all of its own. One truly unique feature of THE MYSTERY OF NIDA VALLEY is the inclusion of Australia’s ancient Mega Fauna. I don’t know of any story that has incorporated these amazing creatures before.
It’s wonderful to think that while being thrilled and entertained by a story, young readers will also be finding out about the unique animals that once roamed our continent. Animals such as giant echidnas and giant wombats, Carnivorous kangaroos and marsupial lions to name but a few.
Into this amazing world is thrust a group of ordinary teenagers led by the likeable and feisty Meg Sealy. They discover to their surprise and delight that they are the next generation of Guardians and that their destiny is to protect the wonders of Nida Valley from those who would exploit and destroy it for their own greed. And so, the battle lines are drawn for a series of intriguing and gripping adventures.
As well as the main character of Meg, Elaine has created a varied bunch of appealing and believable companions who must not only struggle with the everyday challenges of normal teenagers such as growing up, relationships and working out what is right and wrong, but also with the extra challenges of their new found roles and responsibilities. Things like: how to ride a pterosaurodon, how to avoid getting eaten or crushed to death by mega fauna, how to handle their own newly acquired magical powers and talents and how to live up to their important positions as protectors of a fragile and precious valley and the wondrous treasures it holds.
The Mystery of Nida Valley is a cleverly written adventure fantasy tale that I’m sure will entertain, inform and delight younger readers and leave them eager and impatient for the next instalment.
Review by Author Karen Brooks
The Mystery of Nida Valley is one of those books that evokes a time and place usually reserved for conversations with grandparents and baby boomers – and not just the story itself, but in the way the narrative shifts the reader, through dialogue and descriptions, to a time once thought to belong exclusively between the pages of an Enid Blyton book.
This tale that begins with a missing girl, Amanda, and her friend, Meg, and quickly links us to a group of new and old friends, plunging us into a valley that time has forgotten. Led there in a roundabout way by a young ghost, in this magical place, the young heroes not only learn that they possess powers they must fast learn to wield, but that in this lush, preserved valley, creatures once thought extinct roam. Threatened by some ghastly villains, the children turn to their adult mentors, especially KP, and each other in order to discover how to not only protect this place, but save it from exploitation and, ultimately, destruction. But the kids have to overcome their own differences and test loyalties before they can help those who need them. Will there be time? Can they live up to others’ high expectations?
Want to review or comment on this
Click here to login!
Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!