In this sequel to Curse of the Boggin (2016), Marcus (white), Theo (African-American), and Lu (Asian-American) are back.
Strange disruptions have beset Coppell Middle School in Massachusetts, some distance from Marcus’ home in Stony Brook, Connecticut, and Marcus’ first assignment as an agent of the Library is to find out what’s going on. At Coppell, the three friends go undercover, befriending Ainsley Murcer, the feisty eighth-grade class president, who seems to always be around when a violent disruption occurs. After following a white wolf into the surrounding forest, both Marcus and Ainsley are confronted by a witch who informs the white girl that she has been chosen by a coven as its high priestess. Ainsley’s connection to the coven, along with the disruptions at the school, was activated with the onset of her menses. If Ainsley goes through with the priestess ritual on the night of the black moon, or Halloween, the coven will be poised to take over the world. As an agent of the Library and holder of the Paradox key, Marcus is the only one who can stop them. Despite solid folkloric grounding, delving into blood-related connections to witchcraft feels out of step for the light adventure series. Still, MacHale once again pens a page-turner that adds just the right amount of humor from narrator Marcus to buoy the mood.
Here’s hoping the next installment in this series achieves a better balance. (Fantasy. 10-14)