Following Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (2016), Xander Miyamoto’s second quest takes him to the Land of Dreams, where he encounters more creatures from Japanese folklore.
His careless use of his grandmother’s baku charm, which takes away nightmares, renders him powerless and his family and friends dangerously close to lethargic death. With higher stakes than before, this half-Japanese, half-Irish 12-year-old dives deep into his own personal psychology as he battles demonic oni on his quest to find the baku (a dream-stealing anteater) and restore his Momotaro power. In a plot that feels comfortably familiar, Xander is lured by the forces of evil, is offered the power of ruling the galaxy, and is horrified when he sees that the enemy has his own face. But through the kabuki mask of Japanese mythology, these familiar themes take a surprising twist, with appearances by Kintaro, the Golden Boy, Fudo-Myoo, the Angry Lord of Light, and the Princess Kaguya. Xander slowly realizes that true things bring power and assistance: true anger, true fear, and true compassion. He also learns the importance of words from Princess Kaguya. “Words are the sounds of the heart, Xander-san….What you say to others—and yourself—matters a great deal.”
A satisfying sequel that balances the monsters of Japanese mythology with the personal demons of a likable protagonist; fans will be waiting to see what battles he will fight next. (Fantasy. 8-12)