A special remote control allows a Greene sister to explore, transform, and rescue in this YA sci-fi/paranormal adventure sequel to Snap to Grid: The Stones of Bothynus Trilogy, Book One (2015).
In Book 1, Sonia “Red” Greene obtains her eccentric Uncle Alistair’s STAG (Snap To Alternate Grid) control, a scientific device with seemingly magical properties made from ancient artifacts. With it, she solves some mysterious disappearances and rescues her uncle, a scientist, as well as Erik Wolfeningen, the attractive graduate student who’s now her boyfriend. Now, in Book 2, her younger sister Anya, called Annie, 15, swipes a STAG control for the summer she’s spending at her grandmother’s farm in Tennessee, hoping for excitement. The control allows her to enter a hidden cave filled with elaborately carved and jeweled sculptures. Their creator, a tall, glowing, “exquisitely enchanting,” half-angelic being named Aaan, is trapped in an ethereal state between reincarnations. Annie awakens new energy in him (“For the first time in many, many years, he found himself interested in something. He felt his limbs begin to gain energy, his whole body awakening. Yes, it was time to awaken again. His curiosity had been piqued”). And he stirs strong feelings in her. Rescue missions in Iraq and Italy then seek to retrieve kidnapped family members, drawing on the STAG control’s several powers and Aaan’s assistance. In Book 2, Reed pleasingly extends her exploration of the STAG control’s properties and shows how it can also be put to practical use during the several stages of the two rescue missions, which are deftly conceived. The author makes room for some thoughtful digressions concerning physics, metaphysics, sin, and forgiveness, with an emphasis on compassion; the main characters’ love and courage, which are genuinely moving, bolster the book’s exploits. Though the dual rescues bear similarities, the differences are sufficient to hold reader interest. And Aaan, with his combination of otherworldly beauty and guilt-induced, broody isolation, makes a perfect love interest for an emotional but inexperienced girl. Some matters are left unresolved, but all is well-prepared for Book 3.
Science and mysticism blend smoothly in this second outing, which again offers appealing characters and an action-packed plot.