The evil spirit Narkazan, supposedly vanquished in Atlantis Rising (2013), is back.
Reunited with his parents but bitter at their earlier abandonment of him, immortal hero Promi doesn’t heed his father’s warning that his trips to Atlantis to visit the beautiful Atlanta are damaging the veil that keeps the mortal world safe. Narkazan sends dreams to a mortal, Reocoles, who begins an industrial revolution in Atlantis after Promi saves his ship from disaster. These rapid-fire industrial advancements, engineered by Reocoles and his fellow Greek explorers, threaten environmental ruin in short order. Barron’s eco-friendly message is laudable but so didactic the book suffers. Readers may wonder why magical sea creature Kermi, sent to warn Promi not to save the ship, decides not to deliver his urgent message, for instance. As in the series opener, the characters’ dialogue is often stilted, and those who speak in dialect come across as terribly clichéd. Narkazan’s lack of empathy—and sometimes common sense—makes him unbelievable, and the lesser, mustache-twirling (in one case, literally) bad guys’ main purpose seems to be to fulfill archetypes. The ethnic targeting of the Greeks as eco-villains is just one more problematic element.
Relative inaction and deus ex machina solutions mark this installment as a typical middle volume; here’s hoping the conclusion makes up for at least some of the failings of the first two books. (Fantasy. 10-14)