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readers-favoriteThe Secret World of Farallon – Discovered

Reviewed By Faridah Nassozi for Readers’ Favorite

01/18/2014

Review Rating: 5 stars!

The Secret World of Farallon by Melany Holton is a children’s fiction-fantasy story about a boy whose life is transformed so he is able to be in two place at the same time. Twelve-year-old Eric starts on the adventure of his life when he is invited by Farallon to visit his home in the ocean. The two boys create a twin in Eric’s image to take his place so people will not notice he is missing. The twin, however, has no idea how things work in the human world so he enlists the help of Eric’s best friend to show him the way. Meanwhile, Eric is changed into a merchild so he can fit into the world of the ocean people. The two Eric’s enjoy their stay in the new worlds, causing chaos, avoiding danger, and becoming heroes along the way.

The Secret World of Farallon is an underwater story about a merboy and a human boy filled with drama and adventure. It is about the life and adventures of a twelve-year-old boy, but with a big twist. Melany Holton’s descriptions of the secret ocean world and the different creatures that live there are so beautiful that, as I followed the boys on their fun-filled adventures, I could not help but have a vivid vision of that world. The story is written with such finesse that it had me turning page after page, eager to discover what the next event would be in the young boys’ adventures. I loved reading it and did not want to put it down until I reached the last page.

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The Secret World of Farallon – Discovered

Reviewed By Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite

01/20/2014

Review Rating: 4 stars!

Melany Holton’s novel, The Secret World of Farallon, is a story of a very unusual friendship between two young boys coming from two different worlds. What starts as a relatively normal day for Eric Doyle turns into an unforgettable experience when he hears the mysterious enchanted whisper of Farallon, an ocean boy who gets hold of a magic shell. Farallon is an ocean child with emerald eyes, scaly green skin, and long silver hair in small braids that sparkle in the sun. Eric is a normal twelve-year-old boy who is left in the care of his aunt, together with his younger brother T.J., when their parents go on a vacation. Unwittingly helping Farallon escape his grandfather’s fishing line, Eric catches the interest of the mischievous Farallon. What follows is a series of extraordinary adventures, both on land and underwater, for the two boys as they learn the best and the worst in both worlds.

Melany Holton’s story, The Secret World of Farallon, is not only a tale of thrilling adventures, but it is also informative because there is a lot to be learned from the boys’ exploits both underwater and on land. Fast paced and full of twists and turns, this narrative is thoroughly entertaining for both young and older readers alike. The boys’ adventures are narrated alternately and one has to transfer from one world to the other, which results in a mood of anticipation. This makes one continue reading until the very end. This is a book that is full of moral lessons and, at the same time, it is loads of fun!

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The Secret World of Farallon – Discovered

Reviewed By Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

01/24/2014

Review Rating: 4 stars!

The Secret World of Farallon by Melany Holton takes you into the fascinating underwater world of the ocean and shows the reader that there might be more down there than he/she suspects. It all starts when young Eric starts to believe he’s going crazy – the world stops moving around him and he hears a voice calling for him to come and play down the river. It takes a while until he ends up where the voice wants him and then he enters a world very different from his own. Farallon, a merboy, creates a twin of Eric. The twin will take on Eric’s everyday life (but has no clue about human life) and Eric turns into a merboy himself to visit Farallon’s world. Of course, this is a recipe for disaster. The twin Eric gets into all sorts of trouble and when Farallon’s sister finds out that her brother has brought a human into their secret colony, she is not very amused.

The Secret World of Farallon by Melany Holton was a fun read and it did not take me long at all to get through the book. It is a really good story, suitable for children, teenagers and also young adults – there is hardly any violence, no over-the-top romance, and the vocabulary used will raise nobody’s eyebrows. This shows that a good story does not need all sex and violence – a good story-teller can catch a reader’s attention in any way he or she wants. Melany Holton does it in her own way: by telling a very imaginative story that keeps you turning the pages. The further you get, the more you want to know how the characters will get out of all that trouble!

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The Secret World of Farallon – Discovered

Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

01/20/2014

Review Rating: 5 stars!


The Secret World of Farallon by Melany Holton is about the underwater adventures of twelve-year-old Eric Doyle. While he goes on these adventures, a copy of him is left to fill his place on land so no one knows he is gone. He meets Farallon, who guides him on his journey underwater. Farallon also controls the mind of Eric’s replacement on land. The ‘land’ Eric tries to stay dry and he faces the daunting task of not getting transformed into an ocean child in front of the people there. The ‘land’ Eric faces his own challenges such as a teenage bully and a bad dentist.

The book is fast paced and stimulates the thinking of both adults and children in a creative way. The underwater adventures expose them to the mysteries that lurk in the ocean. The author’s writing skills bring the characters and the scenes alive in front of you while reading. The whimsical character of Farallon is exciting.

It is a wonderful story. Fantasy and adventure stories always excite readers. These books have the unique power of transporting them to another realm where they can dream and imagine. Apart from that, the book speaks about the values of friendship and trust. It is also educational in the fact that it speaks about underwater life and tells readers more about life under the sea.

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The Secret World of Farallon – Discovered

Reviewed By Bil Howard for Readers’ Favorite

01/22/2014

Review Rating: 5 stars!

Being in two places at the same time is something that we have all wished to be able to do at times. In The Secret World of Farallon by Melany Holton, Eric Doyle is able to do just that. As himself, he is led on a fantastic adventure by his new merchild friend, Farallon, into the open ocean with his legs changed into fins and the ability to talk to and understand the fish. His second copy of himself is actually Farallon’s mind in Eric’s body, which is following his best friend, Wesley, around on dry land. The switch produces some very interesting challenges for both as they navigate through new worlds. They learn new things, but teach their hosts new things as well, as in their innocence they simply don’t follow along behind all of the prejudices which simply come to people or merpeople without any thought as to why. Will each survive the world of the other and be able to return to tell of their exciting adventure?

The Secret World of Farallon is not only an exciting read for a youth or a young adult. It was actually quite amusing for me as I let my mind wander off and ponder the things which we take for granted as a daily occurrence, which someone from another world would find challenging or fascinating. Fun, thought provoking and playful, The Secret World of Farallon was a delightful trip which allowed me to stop and smell the roses and the coral in two different worlds.

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The Secret World of Farallon – Ranora’s Revenge

Reviewed By Hilary Hawkes for Readers’ Favorite

12/02/2015

Review Rating: 4 stars!

The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge is Melany Holton’s sequel to her first book about the amazing, magical adventures and discoveries beneath the oceans. In this story, Eric’s little brother TJ is “kidnapped” by the foolish Mitch and Judd, who fall under the spell of the dangerous and power greedy mermaid Ranora – after her stealing the Merqueen, Relona’s, role. Can Eric and his friends, both human and merpeople, find and rescue TJ and the other prisoners? Can Relona reverse the spell and find the next successor to reign over this underwater world?

The Secret World of Farallon is a brilliantly imaginative and entertaining story that nine to twelve-year-olds will find exciting and absorbing. The plot is well thought out and moves along at a good pace with plenty of excitement, mystery and suspense along the way. Although this is a sequel, it is not essential to have read the first book as there is plenty of recapping and explaining of the essential parts of the previous plot. The main characters are nicely developed, and the dialogue and thoughts of the children are realistic and believable.

I loved the secrecy of the underwater world. Melany Holton has created a well thought out species and way of life – complete with magical shells, spells that can turn humans into merpeople, enabling them to swim beneath the ocean and communicate with the merchildren and other creatures. Mitch and Judd are more foolish and funny than nasty – which is important in children’s books – and there is a nice message about goodness, kindness and good values triumphing over evil. The descriptive pieces will transport you into this magical oceanic world, and I particularly liked the excitement and danger conveyed in the seahorse race. A great story idea that will appeal to children’s imaginations.

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The Secret World of Farallon – Ranora’s Revenge

Reviewed By Chris Fischer for Readers’ Favorite

12/01/2015

Review Rating: 5 stars!

In a fantastic sequel to the first book in The Secret World of Farallon series, author Melany Holton’s new work, Ranora’s Revenge, does a great job of continuing the story of Farallon and the underwater kingdom inhabited by magical mer-people. Ranora, a twin created by an ancient Merqueen with magic shells so that the queen can experience the world of humankind, has been trapped by pirates for 450 years. Finally released, Ranora gets control of the magic shells she needs to restore her youth and beauty, and she begins to create the underwater zoo where she plans to hold the humans that she captures for her own entertainment and for revenge. Farallon is now fifteen and is determined to enter the seahorse race. The race will be more dangerous than ever without the protection of the Merqueen. Humans continue to threaten Farallon’s magical world, determined to find it and exploit its magical secrets.

The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge was an excellent read in the genre of fantasy for young adults. I found the story exciting and with a great story line. Characters are well drawn and easy to relate to, even though they are set in a fantastic world. The plot is unique, certainly not one that you read every day, and it’s refreshing, as a voracious reader, to find something that isn’t so formulaic that you feel as if you know exactly what will happen as soon as you get through the first few pages. I can easily recommend Ranora’s Revenge to anyone looking for a great work of fantasy for young adults. I certainly hope that author Melany Holton is already working on the next book. I, for one, will be watching for it!

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The Secret World of Farallon – Ranora’s Revenge

Reviewed By Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite

12/01/2015

Review Rating: 5 stars!

Ah, young adult fiction. The genre that has had some of the most creative and wonderful works of fiction in recent years, whether they be marketed for young adults or not. And author Melany Holton’s new work, The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge, is absolutely an example of such work. Continuing the story of a magical underwater world, a world filled with mer-people, this book will grab readers from the very beginning and will keep them reading through right to the end.

An ancient Merqueen has created Ranora, a twin of herself, using magic shells. Continuing to use magic, the queen turns Ranora into a human, desperate for a chance to experience the human world. But when Ranora is taken captive by a band of pirates and buried under a sunken ship, she believes her life will never be the same. Finally released by a sea storm after 450 years, Ranora is determined to exact her revenge on humankind. When she finally gets control of the magic shells she needs to restore her youth and beauty, she begins to create the underwater zoo where she plans to hold the humans that she captures for her own entertainment. Farallon, now fifteen, is planning to enter the seahorse race, but finds that things aren’t what they seem, and entering the race will be more dangerous than ever. And humans are still trying to locate the beautiful underwater world, ready to do anything to find its secrets.

I so enjoyed The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge. The book was fast-paced, full of adventure, fun, magic and excitement. Author Melany Holton is a master at world creation and has also done a fantastic job in creating characters that her readers will truly care about, relate to, and think about long after the book is done. Any reader who loves a great work of fantasy fiction, whether young adult or not, should definitely read this book. I highly recommend The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge and am very much looking forward to reading the next book by author Melany Holton as soon as it is available!

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The Secret World of Farallon – Ranora’s Revenge

Reviewed By Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite

12/03/2015

Review Rating: 5 stars!

A Merqueen rules until she vanishes on her 100th birthday and a new Merqueen becomes the new ruler. Merqueen Arana from the Mazak colony wasn’t ready to relinquish her powers. Instead, she used her magic shells and created a twin of herself that she called Ranora. She sent Ranora out as a human so she could experience what their world was like. She was hoping that her twin would be able to keep her alive after she reached her passing age. However, her plan failed. When she finally reached 100 years old, she simply vanished. On the other hand, Ranora had no desire to return to her colony. She joined the human pirates. When she lost her power, betrayed and mistreated by the humans, Ranora vowed revenge after over 450 years.

Author Melany Holton has written a charming fantasy tale in The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge. The premise is fascinating and the world of the merpeople is intricate and well developed. The plot is appropriately paced and it’s quite easy to immerse yourself in the story. Eric Doyle and his friends and family are wonderful, quirky characters. Antagonists such as Judd Cardon are well fleshed out and believable, particularly Ranora. She may be the enemy in the story, but she’s a lot of fun to read about. Even though Ranora’s Revenge is the second installment of the series (The Secret World of Farallon), the story is sufficient enough as a standalone. The intended audience is definitely young readers, but adults can enjoy the story as well.

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The Secret World of Farallon – Ranora’s Revenge

Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

12/03/2015

Review Rating: 5 stars!

The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge is the second book in the series by Melany Holton, a thrilling tale that immerses readers in a world of magic and the machinations of an evil sea creature. In order to get a feel of the human world, the queen of the sea creates a duplicate of herself using magic shells – her duplicate self is called Ranora. Captured and chained for eons under the water, Ranora is finally awakened from her long stupor by a sea quake. Now old and skeletal, without a shred of her former beauty, she is bent on exacting her revenge against humans. The exciting seahorse race is close at hand, but there are dangers in the way as the sea queen can no longer offer her protection to the racers. Will there be a hero brave enough to save the human world and protect the secrets of Farallon’s world from falling into the wrong hands?

In The Secret World of Farallon: Ranora’s Revenge, Holton creates fascinating characters such as Eric Doyle and worlds filled with magic, an enchanting world of fantasy which young readers will definitely enjoy. The prose is beautiful and filled with interesting dialogues that make the plot move forward. Holton’s use of suspense is skillful and it adds elements of mystery and fascination to the story. The characters are compelling and it is interesting to see them evolve in their growth process. Most compelling are the themes in the story — the futile quest for revenge, the search for hidden secrets, and most importantly, friendship that cuts through all barriers of nature. The underwater zoo created by the evil Ranora to trap humans, the seahorse race, and the secrets of Farallon are elements that make the story enchantingly beautiful. This is a book I will highly recommend for young readers.

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