The Land of Elyon Book #1: The Dark Hills Divide

by Patrick Carman

Hardcover, 2005


Checked out
Due Feb 6, 2024

Local notes

Fic Car





Scholastic (2005), Hardcover, 272 pages


When she finds the key to a secret passageway leading out of the walled city of Bridewell, twelve-year-old Alexa realizes her lifelong wish to explore the mysterious forests and mountains that lie beyond the wall.


Triple Crown Awards (Nominee — 2007)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2007)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — 2007)
Cocheco Readers' Award (Winner — 2007)


Original publication date


Physical description

272 p.; 7.34 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member hoosgracie
I debated between 3 and 4 stars for this. The first part of the book is excellent – it’s the story of Alexa Daley who lives in a walled city and discovers a way out, where she learns to talk to animals. She also discovers the bad secret of the city. The second half moves to QUICKLY tie up all
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loose ends. Overall, a good fantasy read.
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LibraryThing member LarissaBookGirl
Twelve year old Alexa has spent her whole life confined within the city walls of Bridewell longing to see more, longing to explore a world beyond the walls. But the walls were built to protect those living in the city, they were built to keep the dangers out and it was against the law to leave. But
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what if the real danger was not outside the walls but within?

Alexa would spend her days in the city playing as a spy, hiding in the shadows. Then when she discovered a key, a secret passageway and a magical stone suddenly she wasn't playing any more. Things were getting very dangerous, and admittedly also very exciting, when a mystery reveals a traitor in there midst. But who would be willing to risk lives and how can one small girl stop them?

The Dark Hills Divide Bridewell from its criminal past, a past that cannot be ignored any longer. Through ingenuity, circumstance and a little help from her friends Alexa is able to not only solve a dangerous mystery but also bring about a change in her city that sees a better future for everyone. At only twelve years old this little heroin has a lot more adventures ahead of her.
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LibraryThing member YV21
Alexa Daley, daughter of a father who is a very important person in all of the land of elyon, is taking Alexa to Bridewell for the summer. Alexa is determined to finally crack the secret that has been haunting her since the first time she has been in Bridewell. She finally finds a secret door in
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the library that leads to the outside world. It is there that she finds important animals that will guide her to greatness.
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LibraryThing member hercatalyst
Alexa had me pinned by the collar until she returned to Bridewell after her foray into the forest. At this point, she was well-armed with crucial information, information she was instructed to tell no one. And how could she? The story she would have to tell in order to relay this information was
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too fantastical for adults to believe.

But she told them anyway and they believed her.

I suppose this may seem to some as a bonus, but I was horribly disappointed. I was ready to fight with Alexa, to follow her on her journey to save Bridewell with her trusty librarian sidekick and a chattering squirrel. Ah well.

Crumbling plot and character aside, Carmen knows his language and uses it fully. He relies on verbs to pop his writing instead of weighing the sentence down with unnecessary modifiers. Also, he does not write down to children. Thank you, Mr. Carmen.

Oh, and the book may look exquisitely bound, but it's just a bunch of faux deckle edged pages pasted to a hardcover. Disappointing.

Rating: 1 star for excellent writing, even if it couldn't keep the story afloat. Half a star for Alexa's HQ being the library. Half a star because I'm a sucker for talking squirrels.
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LibraryThing member mitchellf3
a good book which gets started into the next 2 books. an amazing plot, characters, and overview. it may be a little boring in the beginning but an un-believable ending and books ahead of it. it all comes together in the end.....
LibraryThing member readingrat
Starts out well but it seems about 2/3 of the way through the book the author must have gotten anxious that the book was getting too long, so he had the main character do a quick 180 degree reversal (plot holes be damned) and slapped together a quick ending which frankly doesn't do much to
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encourage me to read the sequel.
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LibraryThing member JeremyCarlson
Alexa is spending another summer in Bridewell, with her father. Bridewell is a wall surrounding three big cities. These cities are Turlock, Lunenburg, and Ainsworth. Warvold is who built these wall, and he died in Alexa's hands the night she arrived in Bridewell. Not only is she curious of the the
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outside, she want's to go out to the Dark Hills. Alexa finds a secret passsage way that leads outside of the wall from underground. Alexa finds new friends, and they help her to succeed of what she has to do outside of the wall. She meets new people and animals. She gets a gift that she finds, which she can talk to animals through. Eventually she finds out that the wall will be destroyed if they don't take it down. Well Alexa cannot tell no one about who she met and what she can do. But she does, and her father and the all of the leaders believe her.

My opinion about this book is it was fascinating! The author has great idea's about this book. It was great when Alexa had to help Bridewell succeed. Not only can she talk to animals, she also know what they are saying, and she ends up becoming really good friends with them. Her squirrel friend (Murphy), is very hyper. Murphy helps Alexa a lot through her journey of the Dark Hills and in Bridewell. Alexa also has a friend that is very very short (Yipes). He also helps her out a lot in her journey of Bridewell and Outside of the wall, the Dark Hills.
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LibraryThing member jians
Alexa is back in Bridewell to scatter around the library and read. But when Warvold pasts away every body is in shock! But Warvold had left something for Alexa, something special for only her.
LibraryThing member twihard17108
Alexa Daley is spending another summer with her father in Bridewell. Bridewell is a wall surrounding three cities. When Alexa arrives, she wants to know what is beyond the walls that was built around Turlock, Lunenburg and Ainsworth (those are the three cities). Not only does Alexa want to know
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what's beyond the wall, she also wants to explore the Dark Hills. She also finds a gift, which allows her to talk to animals. In my opinion I really enjoyed this book. Patrick Carmen has lots of good ideas and it was really funny how she made Murphy ( Alexa's squirrel friend) very hyper. I recommend this book to people that like animals and also enjoy mysterious adventure.
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LibraryThing member sokkr
Amazing story of daring, adventure and heroics. You could read this book again and again without ever getting tired of it.
LibraryThing member ALindelof
A girl named .... is on a mission trying to defeat a evil giant named Wort hog. She knows how to talk to hairy animals, a squirrel helps her throw this mission. This book is good for people that like animals, dark forests and secrets
LibraryThing member ashlynprill
Elyon is a land of dark hills, enchanted forests, and great walls that connect and encircle the cities of Lathbury, Turlock, Lunenburg, and Bridewell like spokes in a wagon wheel. On her annual summer trips to Bridewell with her father, the mayor of Lathbury, Alexa Daley spends much of her time
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dreaming of escape. Having lived within the walls all of her 12 years, she wants nothing more than to explore the uncharted wilderness beyond. But, the walls are heavily guarded, and frightening legends suggest that forests and hills are no place for a child--especially a young girl. When a mysterious conversation and an unfortunate accident put Alexa within reach of a way outside the wall, she must decide--heed the warnings of her elders, or satisfy her curiosity and unravel the mysteries of Elyon.

I really enjoyed this book! The plot line is interesting and moves at a very good pace (though too quickly near the end) and is a well illustrated coming of age story which is easy to identify to throughout reading. The tale is suspenseful, enduring, and relatable even to older audiences, one of the greatest feats of this book. I'm definitely encouraged to read the remainder of the series.
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LibraryThing member Bryon.Hancock
Alexa is a girl of adventure. She finds a tunnel that will take outside of the protection of the stonewall. Once she is out, she follows a small by the name Yipes. He takes her to a pool. In this pool contains a Jocasta, that give the power to speak to animals. she learns that Bridewell where she
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stays. (she lives in lathbury, she visits Bridewell because her dad is like the representive of lathbury.) The animals say that the convicts, prisoners that helped to build the stone wall and then were let go in the dark hills, were going to take over bridewell. their lead would be Sebastian. Alexa's job was to find how this convict was because he is the inside person. he is in bridewell spying. The book goes on how Alexa finds out that his closes friend was her enemy(ganesh how poisoned Warvold who built the wall of bridewell). She was able to capture the him and he died. His followers fell in a trap. Alexa told what was going to happen. So the people of Bridewell make protection so when they came they failed. In the end Alexa is safe.

I liked this because it is interesting how some one can think of all of this and write it down on a piece of paper. I think that Patrick Carman is a really good author. he gave me a image in my mind on what is happening. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
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LibraryThing member shaylynn.hanes1
The Dark Hills Divide was about how a girl whose older sibilings are really mean to her. So she is usually by herself. One of her good friends dies. He was an adult but he was one of her good friends. She took her mothers spy glass and looks out beyond the walls of village. Which is forbidden where
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she lives. Her mother does not live with her at the moment. While she is looking out passed the walls a man walks in and sees her. He takes the spy glass and smashes it against the wall.

I thought this book was ok. This book didnt really have anything surprising to me in it. Other people may like this book, but not me. This book explained itself ok. i could picture somethings in my mind. I dont think i will read this book again.
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LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
I need to preface this with the obvious: Dark Hills Divide is a book for kids. I think if you read other reviews you can figure that out. Okay, so onto the plot. Alexa Daley is twelve years old and is spending a month with her father in the town of Bridewell. Bridewell is no ordinary place as it is
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surrounded by huge walls that are 42' high and 3' thick. What Alexa wants to know is what is beyond, in the world she cannot see? All her life she has lived behind those thick walls. All she knows is what her mayoral father tells her: that a mysterious man by the name of Thomas Warvold had the walls built by an army of prison convicts. Legend has it, the walls have kept out an unnamed evil.
And so begins the first book of the Land of Elyon series. As with any good fantasy book there is a menacing villain, talking animals and one brave-as-all-get-out kid. Pervis Kotcher, Bridewell's head of security and resident bully, will stop at nothing to keep Alexa from seeing what is beyond the walls but like any determined kid, Alexa finds a way out. From there, things get weird and Alexa realizes everyone has secrets and the motto is "trust no one".
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LibraryThing member CurrerBell
This could have been a fairly decent story but the plot is spurred on by too many convenient coincidences which occur at just the most convenient times – a real impediment to believability.
LibraryThing member slee74
This story is very well written and enjoyable to read. The plot was extremely detailed which made it very enjoyable to read. The plot takes you through many twists and turns. Throughout the story, the plot would add a piece that changed everything you thought about what was going on and it would
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wonderfully intrigue you all over again. The plot was never dull and included an appropriate conflict along with a fantastic resolution. This book had wonderful writing throughout. The writing was extremely engaging and flowed well. I felt that the book moved at a very natural pace that emphasized certain parts when necessary without feeling like it was dwelling on these points. It was very organized and even when it could have been very confusing with flashbacks and multiple perspectives on the same part of the story, the writing was always clear and I never felt lost, even when I read it as a child. This books main idea was to entertain.
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LibraryThing member whitewavedarling
As fascinating as this book sounded, I can't say that I really enjoyed it. The book as a whole just felt... well, rather passive. There was a lot of telling, a fair amount of summary, and it seemed like most of the action of the story happened outside of the story, either in the background or
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before the novel's start. On the whole, I liked the ideas, and I wanted to know more about the characters, but there just wasn't a whole lot to engage with -- as if the author gave us the broad strokes of the story, and rather rushed through the parts that involved more than the character sitting and thinking, or talking to others. As a kid, I would have gotten bored and wandered away; as an adult, I found my way to the finish... but more out of determination than interest, I'm afraid.

I doubt I'll read the second one, though it's already on my shelf.
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LibraryThing member amandabock
Meh. It was okay.l I never really understood why she had this overwhelming desire to find a way outside the wall, not why she was "the chosen one." Kids will like it, though, and it's not bad.
LibraryThing member funstm
A straightforward fantasy adventure with talking animals, danger and a long awaited quest. Alexa Daley has lived her whole life inside the stone walls that surround Bridewell and all she has ever longed for is to find a way outside. When her friend and the constructor of the walls, Thomas Warvold
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dies, Alexa is thrust into the middle of a long planned uprising and must solve the puzzles the Warvold family left behind in order to save the day.

This was nothing new in the fantasy adventure genre but enjoyable all the same. There is low angst, a big quest and a mysterious saboteur to be found. The mystery saboteur was a bit obvious now Elephant Worship = Sebastian with a character named Ganesh it wasn't exactly hard but I can't remember if I ever made the connection when I read these as a kid. On the other hand I felt like a certified genius upon reread so win. I liked Alexa, she's a daring, headstrong and a reader - so it's really hard not to. The other characters played pretty small parts really but I liked Yipes and the other animals and Alexa's father and Grayson. I enjoyed the details of the quest - like the tunnels and the Jocastas - etched images on gemstones.

There's a little bit of violence but it's all pretty tame - perfect for younger readers. 4 stars.
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