In the second installment of the Collectors series, 11-year-old Van, his friend Pebble, and Barnavelt the squirrel must stop an ancient monster that has the power to grant wishes.
Giovanni “Van” Carlos Gaugez-Garcia Markson is able to see things other people cannot: wishes, the mysterious Collectors who bottle them up for safety, and the monstrous Wish Eaters who make them come true. It has been some time since Van heard from his magical friends when Pebble, a young Collector, enlists him to help stop her uncle Ivor from awakening an ancient Wish Eater. Van is hard of hearing, and there is a tiresome implication that Van can see the magical occurrences around him due to his “different” senses, but luckily West does not focus on that idea for long. As the action ramps up, Van experiences increasing difficulty hearing the people around him, and the other characters’ lack of consideration for Van’s communication needs—despite his repeated explanations—paints a realistic, if frustrating, picture. The author skillfully employs the classic setup of a regular kid swept up in magical events. In the end, Van and readers both must question right and wrong in a fairy tale in which the good guys use questionable methods and the monsters might not be so monstrous after all. Van’s race is not clarified; he has black hair and Spanish, Italian, and English names. Pebble presents white.
A warm and enchanting read. (Fantasy. 8-13)