Monday, August 1, 2011

Review of Secrets of the Crown by Epstein and Jacobson

I wrote the following review for the August edition of School Library Journal; find the issue online here.

EPSTEIN, Adam Jay & Andrew Jacobson. Secrets of the Crown. Bk. 2. illus. by Peter Chan & Kei Acedera. 384p. (The Familiars Series). HarperCollins. Sept. 2011. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-196111-3. LC number unavailable.
Gr 4-6–In this sequel to The Familiars (HarperCollins, 2010), the traitorous rabbit familiar Paksahara has gained control of the Shifting Fortress, enabling her to cast powerful spells; in her bid to overthrow humans, she has eliminated their ability to do magic. Animals retain their magical ability, so familiars Skylar the blue jay, Gilbert the tree frog, and Aldwyn the cat set off on a journey through strange and exotic lands to find the Crown of the Snow Leopard, which will allow them to locate the Shifting Fortress. The cliff-hanger ending ensures at least one more installment. The writing isn’t the strength of this book–characters are painted broadly and tend to make pronouncements in pompous fantasy-speak. However, the familiars’ adventures are exciting, and the revelations about Aldwyn’s long-lost parents are touching. Fans of the first book will be pleased, and the story will also appeal to readers of animal fantasy series like Erin Hunter’s “Warriors” (HarperCollins) and Kathryn Lasky’s “The Guardians of Ga’hoole” (Scholastic).–Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

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