by Naomi Cyprus, published 2018
“I’ve been looking for a way to find out more about my powers, about my destiny. This is the sign I’ve been waiting for, I’m sure of it. This is where I need to go.” She pointed at her rough drawing of the shrine…
It’s tough to sell me on a fantasy children’s book, for many reasons, which I’ve previously explained. Sometimes the fantasy world is too difficult to follow. Sometimes the books are just too dramatic or unbelievable. Whatever… This children’s book was listed as a sequel to Sisters of Glass, and I remembered struggling to decide if I would post that one. For the same reasons, I struggled at first with this, as the intensity gets to me, and the bad guys are really bad. Yet there is something heroic in both of these children’s books, something that makes me want to see the good guys succeed. So I read it during the day, to avoid bad dreams at night. And I’m glad I finished it.
The plot of the first book continues in this one, with two kingdoms that are mirror-images of each other, split during some long-past war. This sequel does a fair job of catching the reader up with what happened. However, I do feel they are best read in sequence, in order to really understand the two girls, and what they had gone through. It’s not essential, just helpful. In this children’s book, each of the young girls has her own mission to accomplish and their lives intertwine, and of course, come together beautifully at the end.
One of the strengths of the book is that it is very well written. One can picture the settings easily, even though they are in a fantasy world. The fantasy world is close enough to our own real worlds that there’s no need to contort one’s mind to follow. The themes of greed and abuse of power are chilling, but important themes. Overall, this is a great children’s book for young girls, but they need to be strong readers, with strong emotional bodies to handle some of the chilling events that take place. I would say it will work for anyone that has dealt with the black magic of a Harry Potter or Star Wars (neither of which I have succeeded in handling!) I would recommend it only for older readers, 11 and up, and definitely not the 8-9-year-olds that the publisher recommends.