To save their cousin’s life, two siblings decide to return to the lair of a villainous great-aunt in this middle-grade sequel.
In McEvoy’s (The Muses: Escaping Montague Manor, 2014) previous fantasy series installment, Sarah and Nickolas McGuire had been sent to live in Australia with their grandmother’s sister, Vivian, after their parents were seriously injured in a car accident. Soon after arriving, however, they discovered that Vivian was an evil woman who had imprisoned 14 mythical Muses in her garden at Montague Manor in the form of statues. Over the course of the novel, the young siblings rescued the Muses and escaped Vivian’s clutches, along with their cousin, Simon, whom she had also been keeping captive for 50 years but who, due to her magic, hadn’t aged a day and still looked like a boy. This new novel picks up a mere week or so after the conclusion of the previous one, with Sarah and Nickolas acclimating to life back at their grandma Vera’s house but now with Simon living with them as well. On the night of Sarah’s half-birthday, however, their lives are thrown into upheaval again when Simon suffers some sort of attack, the symptoms of what seems to be a serious illness that the doctors can’t figure out. Ultimately, Sarah and Nickolas determine that returning to Montague Manor is their only option for finding a remedy. Much like the previous novel, this sequel is filled with beautifully conceived and fully fleshed-out characters both heroic and sinister whose adventures are a pleasure to join in. It also features a similarly uneasy blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements, along with a sprawling page count that could have easily been trimmed with some judicious editing. Putting that aside, however, this is a lovingly constructed tale brimming with imagination and full of fantastic revelations that add further depth and scope to the series’ already rich family history. The book ends on a genuinely surprising twist that promises even greater things to come in future installments.
A pair embarks on a quest for a cure in this inventive and entertaining story that young fantasy readers should eagerly devour.