This sequel to By the Grace of Todd (2014) sees the return of the title character and his acolytes.
There’s no question this duology is based on a brilliant premise. Todd accidentally created a race of tiny people, the Toddlians, who worship him as a god. They grew out of one of his dirty socks. Nothing here is quite as ingenious. The plot revolves around a standard-issue bully, who wants to kidnap the Toddlians and use them as a science-fair project. Meanwhile, the Toddlians experience a crisis of faith, and a schism threatens. Fortunately, a few of the supporting characters offer readers something to engage with. There’s Todd’s younger sister, whose baby talk turns out to be fluent Toddlian and who has complex theories about art. And there’s Charity, the prettiest girl in school, who’s obsessed with “Dragon Sensei” games and cartoons. She seems to have a crush on Todd, surprising everyone. But too many characters are simply annoying, like Persephone, a Toddlian dissenter, who speaks in cowgirl clichés, including “dadgum” and “sick as a sow’s ear.” The premise might have inspired a religious allegory or a satire, but Galveston just doesn’t seem to want to go there.
Instead of satire, readers get a zany adventure, which would be perfectly satisfactory—if it were zany enough. (Fantasy. 8-12)