Three for Thursday: Second and Third Helpings!

Series are a big chunk of speculative fiction and for every new series starter, there must be the books that follow after.  Sometimes these are trilogies, quartets, or even more. However many the number, these stories usually have a built in fan base that is already eagerly waiting for the title before it hits the shelves.  Here are three for this Thursday! (a little late, I know!)

1.

Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Web (Sourcebooks Jabborwocky, USA publication April 2014)

This second volume in the Rose series picks up the story just after the last adventure has finished.  While you might be able to dive into this book without reading the first, this reads better if you know the first story.  Rose is finding her new standing in the household hard to balance.  The staff are now nervous of Rose and her magic and she’s struggling to hold her own against prejudice and jealousy.  All that gets put to the side, however, when a threat materializes against the princess, one that puts all magic users under suspicion.  Rose will have to pitch in to help find the culprits  and prove that magic can be as useful as it is dangerous.

There’s some good stuff with the realities of how people might treat magic and magic users after something bad happens with magic–and Rose’s inability to fit neatly into a role is more realistic than her finding the perfect spot with her odd set of talents.  The story doesn’t quite have the zest of discovery that the first has, and it’s setting up a lot of elements that won’t conclude in this volume.  It’s a decent second novel, but readers will want to find the first.

2.

The Forbidden Flats by Peggy Eddleman (Random House, Expected Publication September 2014)

This is the second volume in the Sky Jumpers series. I’ve reviewed the first book here.  Our first story had a complete adventure for twelve-year-old Hope, but apparently danger for her community is not averted for long, and when a quake starts changing the balance of the atmosphere and bringing the Bomb’s Breath closer and closer, it’s up to Hope and a group of others to journey to a distant community to find the one thing that can stop it.  In the story, readers get to see Hope’s own back story develop.  She’s an adopted child whose real parents she knows little about.  But when a blood relative joins her adventure, she gets a chance to learn more.

This is one of those sequels that really depends on reading the first book for it to make much sense.  I found some of the plot elements a bit convenient,but the overall world building did flesh out the world.  Readers who want to understand more about Hope’s birth family and what happened to them will be the most satisfied by this volume while those looking for the more straight-forward adventure of the first may find this a bit slower-moving.

3.

Rain Dragon Rescue by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Dan Santat (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, January 2014)

This is the third book in the The Imaginary Veterinary, a lighthearted fantasy series for early middle grade readers that looks at cryptids and mythical monsters. Ben and Pearl are still helping out at the “Worm Hospital” and helping Dr. Woo hide the hospital’s critters from discovery, but when things start to go missing all over town, it seems there might be a mythical thief on the loose.  With Dr. Woo away it’s up to our two protagonists to sort things out! But things soon go from bad to worse when an injured rain dragon needs their help–in order to help the dragon, Ben and Pearl are going to have to do some rule-breaking . . .

Consistently fun and funny series that’s sure to appeal to readers who like contemporary fantasy without a lot of heavier epic story elements and drama.  This particular volume does introduce a new and dangerous villain, but the overall tone still remains in keeping with the start of the adventures.  This can probably be read as a stand-alone adventure, though these books work best in order if readers don’t wish to have spoilers for what happened earlier.

 

So there’s my three! Comments welcome!

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About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on August 30, 2014, in General Posts, Three for Thursdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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