Still marooned on a strange island, three friends fight to protect a magical map.
With only the briefest recap of series opener Mystery of the Map (2016), this sequel jumps right in where its predecessor ended: Mya (Asian), Jorge (Latino), and Oliver (white) are adrift in the waters around the mysterious island Poptropica, continually pursued by the nefarious Octavian (five o’clock shadowed). With the aid of their unreliable magic map, the trio floats in and out of different time periods. The bulk of their voyage finds them on a strange, frozen island (the map does not provide a distinguishing time period for it), with shipwrecked, snowbound, scurvy-ridden sailors. They quickly learn that not only is Octavian right at their heels, but a group of tattooed captors is also after them, meaning them harm. The action in this volume moves at a frenetic pace as the stranded children disjointedly amble from one adventure to another, with no real narrative cohesion. Unlike the online game (upon which this is based), it offers no real information about the time periods the children visit beyond an arbitrary date and a slapstick-addled adventure. Although many plotlines are teased, little is explained, making for a frustrating reading experience.
Die-hard fans of the game may stick out adventuring with the recognizable, wide-eyed gang, but with an unfocused plot and confusing twists, this just feels like a money grab. (Graphic adventure/fantasy. 8-12)