Evie, Sebastian, the Explorers Society, and the pig in the teeny hat are back in this sequel to The Door in the Alley (2017).
This second installment opens in what the narration avows is the worst possible place: on the edge of a volcano with a new character who has nothing to do with the previous book’s cliffhanger. Benedict Barnes is a former member of the infamous Filipendulous Five, a group of explorers that was kicked out of the Explorers Society after a tremendous disaster. Following this inconvenient introduction, the story resumes with Sebastian on a helicopter with his kidnappers while Evie tries to convince the society’s leaders to fund a rescue mission. Sebastian can lead the bad guys to a purported fountain of youth, the very place the Filipendulous Five were trying to find when disaster struck; Barnes is the kidnappers’ next target, and if Evie can find him, she can save Sebastian. As Evie travels to Australia, Sebastian escapes his nefarious captives and accidentally and then on purpose joins a K-pop band in Seoul. Another oh-so-annoying—and literal—cliffhanger leaves readers breathlessly awaiting the next adventure. The self-aware, third-person narration switches between Evie and Sebastian, always maintaining the same metafictive humor and goofy, sometimes-ranting, footnote-style asides as the previous book. Most characters appear to be of white European origin with the exception of the K-pop band’s Korean members; Ruby and Thom, Australian Aborigines who befriend and assist Evie in her quest; and Benedict, depicted as a black man.
Delightfully silly, but the pig in the teeny hat needs a bigger part next time. (Adventure. 8-13)