Genre: YA fantasy
Length: 385 pages
Setting: Second Earth and Cloral, immediately after the events in the first book in the series, The Merchant of Death (which apparently I never reviewed).
Interest: It’s the second book in the Pendragon series. The family had listened to the first book in the series on a road trip, so when we needed an audio book for another road trip, this series was an obvious choice. We finally finished it driving to and from the airport from our trip to Seattle.
Summary: Bobby and Uncle Press have followed Saint Dane to Cloral, a water world. It’s obvious to Uncle Press that Saint Dane has targeted Cloral as the next world to topple into anarchy. Press and Bobby try to learn the lay of the land to prepare to stop Saint Dane when he makes his move. They are aided by Spader, an aquaneer and Cloral’s newest Traveller. When everyone on the floating city of Mogorran dies suddenly, scientists discover their newest fertilizer is actually turning their crops toxic. Bobby, Press, and Spader search for the mythological city of Faar that may have the solution the world needs for its toxic plants. Unfortunately, Saint Dane finds the city soon after they do and tries to blow it up. A battle ensues, and Bobby and Spader successfully stop Saint Dane, at the cost of Uncle Press’ life. Back on Second Earth, Mark and Courtney are dealing with the possible exposure of Bobby’s journals to the police by a school bully.
Final thoughts: An enjoyable, adventurous tale. It’s early in the series, so you know Saint Dane’s plans will be foiled. The fun is in trying to figure out his plans and how to foil them, as well as exploring the different worlds. Cloral is a water world, with no dry land anywhere. Their technology, associated with water, is significantly advanced from Earth’s technology, which isn’t surprising. Even so, I don’t buy water bombs that can stay coherent as a bomb underwater. Above water, maybe. I also kept trying to figure out how you would get off a helmet that molds to the shape of your head. I did appreciate the effort MacHale makes in explaining why the Travelers are all so young. One of my pet peeves of YA “save the world” stories is explaining why the parents aren’t out trying to save the world. In this case, it seems that being a Traveler when Saint Dane is around is hazardous to your health.
I’m not sure what I think about the B plot that’s set on Second Earth (which looks just like Earth, but with flumes). Mark and Courtney are living an average, teenage life, just waiting for Bobby’s journals to show up. At this point, it doesn’t add too much to the story. Whenever we’re in Courtney and Mark’s world, everyone (including them) is just waiting for the next journal to show up so we can see what excitement Bobby’s been up to. The whole family enjoyed listening to the story, though, and we’ll probably get the next book in the series the next road trip we take.
Title comes from: The cure for the toxic plants could only be found in the hidden city of Faar (the only city to be built on dry land, since it was constructed before the oceans rose and has subsequently been submerged)
Reading challenges fulfilled: none, since this was an audio book
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