Eleven-year-old white Milo Silk continues to lead the Orphan Army against the evil extraterrestrial Swarm in this follow-up to The Orphan Army (2015).
Milo is joined by werewolf girl Evangelyne, fire salamander Iskiel, and Mook, a rock elemental with a limited vocabulary. His second-in-command is dark-skinned and tech-savvy Shark. Milo and his friends must keep both the magical Heart of Darkness and the Dissosterin crystal egg safe from both the evil Huntsman and Queen Mab, ruler of the faeries. A doomed rescue mission kills many of their party and fractures the Heart. To salvage their cause, they must find the mythical Heir of Gadfellyn Hall. Magical beings, zombielike holo-men, and an endless parade of alien creatures keep the pages turning. However, even amid the nonstop action, there is depth. The orphans question the morality of their war and understand the cost of the lives sacrificed. While this particular quest does little to forward the overall story, it serves to expand the world, deepen the characters, and raise the stakes on their seemingly impossible war.
Magic, aliens, and now…zombies—a can’t-miss combination. (Fantasy/science fiction. 8-12)