Iskìda of the Land of Nurak: Vol 1: The Amulet of Sleep by Andrea Atzori

Received from NetGalley for review.

The Amulet of Sleep is a solid beginning for a fantasy series; there is magic, danger and daring and you get a real sense of the Sardinian and Mediterranean folklore that inspired it. There are gorgeous illustrations throughout which really add to the enjoyment of the story and I imagine that a physical copy of the book is a sight to behold. It is based around Iskìda, who is a Dream Walker, someone who can travel into the dreams of others – she must use these powers in order to explore different worlds and keep her world, Nurak, safe.

The world building is sound, although I found the huge number of clans and characters to be rather confusing, but there is a real sense of magic and wonder throughout, everything is fantastical and fascinating. The translation from Italian to English has worked quite well – the writing is beautiful in places and has a feeling of fluidity.

I enjoyed reading about Iskìda and everything she went through, but found that the constantly switching narrative became quite confusing – there were multiple narratives throughout the story that I found quite hard to follow sometimes as it was not always obvious from whose perspective you were reading.

There are universal themes of bullying and finding your identity throughout, which I think were handled well by Atzori; Iskìda is a strong and imperfect character, who stands up for herself and those around her and her canine companion Ino is, quite simply, wonderful. An interesting start to a fantasy series that has an interesting protagonist and is full of magic and the unknown.

Read: February 1st-7th 2015

3/5 stars

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