Albert, Leroy, Birdie, and newcomer Holt make up Team Hydra, a young group of Balance Keepers that have been called upon to save the planet from destruction.
A series of powerful earthquakes signals that there is an Imbalance in the Realm of Belltroll, and Albert, Leroy, and Birdie are summoned to the Core for a conclave of Balance Keepers. When Team Hydra, now with the addition of Holt, sets off to Troll Mountain to investigate the Core's instability, they discover that the giant Trolls of Troll Mountain are in deep hibernation. It is the job of the sleeping Trolls to awaken and maintain the planet’s stability when the bells ring, and the static bells have been tampered with by a traitor within the Realm. The traitor leaves a note for Albert, wearer of a magical Master Tile, triggering fears that the traitor will steal the Tile from Albert to utilize its power to finish the destruction of the planet. Things do get worse before Albert is ultimately led to learn of past betrayals, in turn leading to a surprise revelation as to the identity of the mysterious traitor of Belltroll. Although this fantasy trilogy lacks originality, younger readers may become fans of Team Hydra, as out of the gate Cummings leads them right into a nicely set up, tense world in a tale that can stand alone without reading the previous two installments. The kids who make up Team Hydra appear to be white.
Though it lacks depth, the book will connect with its audience. (Fantasy. 8-12)