I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for allowing me the chance to read this. This is a Netgalley eBook review.
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (January 5, 2016)
I am torn in this book. On the one hand it is a good solid second installment in an interesting steam-punk fantasy filled with magical robots, mythical creatures and a great bad guy. On the other hand some of the same problems I had with the first story are still here. Mr Grim is hard to relate to and our main character Grubb is as well. In fact the best characters are the supporting ones. Warrior Banshies, ninjas, spoilt faries and mad witches. The main character is a boy, but the strong female characters almost steal the story. The novel has an ever expanding cast of characters that collect a bit like the Oddita.
This story can drag a little and was hard for me to finish, which worries me about many of my younger readers. However, once I reached about the half-way mark the action picked up and it was interesting. This story wasn’t a hard read, and it is age appropriate in Lexile level, but it just didn’t grab me.
If someone asked for the second book we will buy it, but series are tricky things. They take up a lot of space on our shelves and unless it is wildly popular we tend not to carry many long running series preferring great stories that stand alone.
Parental Note: while the blood and gore is relatively ‘off screen’ Alistair takes on a bit of a darker role in this novel. He is Grubbs father and role model, but he does not make a very good one. In fact I wonder if Grubb is in more danger from Alastair than our Dark Prince. Some of that is explored, but given how abusive Grubbs childhood was, I kind of want better options for Grubb (and seriously, can he get a different name?)