The Children of When by Jennifer Redmile is a delightful children's coming-of-age story that takes us into the fantasy world of Florisia. When three disparate children, all growing up in different versions of the village of Naissence, turn fourteen, it is time for them to cross-over. On their fourteenth birthday they must leave their village and go to "The Circle" where they are transported to a new world that will shape their future. Three children, Leah, Raff and Belle all have different backgrounds and mixed emotions about the upcoming journey. Their friendship and camaraderie will develop and mature as they discover they are part of a thousand-year prophecy that will pit them against all manner of evil and dangerous creatures.
The Children of When is a spell-binding tale that even someone well past their childhood can enjoy and relate to. Described by one as a cross between Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Adventures of Narnia, I could certainly see elements of that in Redmile's story. The three characters are from such differing backgrounds and their mindsets about the journey they have undertaken make for a fascinating and interesting clash of motivations. The author does well to meld them together into a cohesive team. I especially liked some of the interplay between the three main characters. Although not a terribly long book, it is certainly one that is impossible to put down and can be easily read in one sitting. It is suitable for children of pre-teen age, although some of the situations described by Redmile could be seen as frightening, there is always the feeling that Belle, Leah and Raff will succeed. As a non-child, I enjoyed this read and can highly recommend it to stimulate young, enquiring minds.