Still struggling to keep up with his wizardly fellow campers, Clay finally discovers his particular talent when the arrival of a large cruise ship touches off a round of assaults and rescues on remote Price Island.
It seems there’s a secret sleeping at the heart of the island’s all-too-active volcano, and Brett Perry, genially vicious owner of the luxury liner Imperial Conquest, has come to seize it for the nefarious Midnight Sun society. Against his horde of well-armed thugs, it would seem that his chubby 12-year-old son, Brett Jr.—plus Clay, airy kleptomaniac Leira (spell it backward), and other residents of Earth Ranch—stands no chance of mounting any effective resistance. But when there is magic in the air and also a new ally who has the young folk envisioning a “Titanic meets Godzilla” scenario, anything becomes possible. More intrusive than ever, “Bosch” not only lays in fussy digressions and many wordy footnotes, he even dedicates the story to himself (with his real name) and inserts himself directly as a character from his earlier Secret series. Along with making his protagonist look a lot ridiculous and, by the end, a little bit heroic, the author strews the tale with fart jokes and gross goo, oblique references to Harry Potter (“expel-your-anus!”), and other crowd-pleasing elements.
For readers who like (or at least don’t mind) continual authorial asides, a sturdy middle volume. (“backmatter”; map and illustrations, not seen) (Fantasy. 12-14)