Gabe, Lily, Brett, and Kaz are four friends bonded by the elemental powers—fire, air, water, and earth, respectively—gained from a secret friendship ritual performed in series opener The Emerald Tablet (2016).
After having survived an attack on the island of Alcatraz, the four friends have successfully stayed hidden and kept the Emerald Tablet from the evil cult that’s after it, the Eternal Dawn. Their annoying tag-along, Jackson, aka Ghost Boy, a time traveler trapped in the present, becomes a new ally, offering his power of a fifth element, magick. The diverse group of kids (Lily and Brett are Latino, Kaz is Asian-American, and Gabe and Jackson are white) attempt to find the secrets that will destroy Arcadia, or the Shadow World, a dark alternative reality that exists alongside San Francisco. As they use their powers to fight off large, winged batlike creatures and the oozing, flying, tentacled creatures of Arcadia, they also search for clues that will lead them to Gabe’s missing uncle Steve and mother, whom they believe to be trapped in Arcadia. When one of their own shows signs of treachery, what lies behind the betrayal is revealed by the evil leader of the cult, Jonathan Thorne. This sequel is a bit darker than its predecessor, as Jolley adds such icky details as blood cocoons, along with an ending that is reminiscent of Stranger Things, an unsettling cliffhanger readers might want not to encounter just before bedtime.
A scary adventure mixed with shadows and suspense. (Fantasy. 9-13)