Teenagers on a strange planet search for a way back to Earth while battling villainous slavers in this second installment of Gale’s (World of Dawn: Arise, 2017, etc.) YA sci-fi series.
In the previous book, set in 2017, 17-year-old Tanner; his friends Colby and Simon; and sisters, Anna and Tabby, got in a car accident and somehow found themselves on the World of Dawn. The new planet has its share of dangers, particularly giant creatures, such as horse-sized scorpions. But the group has fortunately made a few allies, such as Glooscap of the Sawnay people. He, Tanner, and all of the others are journeying to meet with the mysterious Women of the North, who may be able to help the teens get back to Earth. Then they receive a message from the Sawnay village, saying that a traitorous man named Cawop is manipulating the people into appointing him the new chief. As the group debates changing direction toward the village, they stumble upon some evil slavers attacking a band of nomads called the Denoon. Tanner and the others thwart the assault, but a slaver abducts one of Tanner’s friends and escapes, which precipitates a rescue mission. When it becomes clear that the slavers are plotting “to wipe out the Denoon,” Glooscap and the teens must decide to either move on or stay and fight. Gale’s boisterous series entry is brimming with danger; at one point, Tanner even discovers that the enigmatic One Who Sees All has put a bounty on him, personally. The teens—and readers—continue to learn more about the World of Dawn, encountering familiar mythological creatures and fellow Earthlings from past eras, including one man from the year 1070. Bloody action scenes abound, resulting in the death of a member of Tanner’s group. However, the author does occasionally offset the violence with humor; in one standout scene, for instance, Tanner faces a brutish slaver who’s listening to Michael Jackson’s 1982 song “Thriller” on an apparently stolen Sony Walkman. The novel ends with lingering questions and undeterred baddies, with an eye toward a future installment.
A vigorous, first-rate sequel.