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by Caro King

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2045-8
Publisher: Aladdin

A great deal of action is regularly stopped cold by explication, gory and funny parts and some delicious ideas in this confusing middle-grade fantasy, sequel to Seven Sorcerers (2011).

There is a lot to assimilate in this tale. Jibbit is a gargoyle with a good heart who is afraid of the ground. Skerridge is a rogue bogeyman. Strood of the Terrible House is busy raising an army of tiger-men out of disparate bodies and the ubiquitous crowsmorte vine. Ninevah Redstone is the plucky girl who may save this world, but not before many adventures, startling and icky brushes with torture and death and more twists and turns than might strictly speaking be necessary. Specialized vocabulary abounds: There are the Quick, the Grimm and the Fabulous (labels for, respectively, humans and two different types of nonhuman), the tombfolk and the skinkin. Words are capitalized portentously, and much dialogue is communicated in aggressive dialect that's positively festooned with apostrophes. There are more dei ex machina than can be enumerated, and go round and round, and a lot of things end up where they started, only not exactly.

It is difficult to know where one is in the story or where the story is going, quite, but readers captivated by the humor or the horror may not care, as everything is (kind of) tied up in the end. (Fantasy. 10-14)