Well, okay. Apparently, I really didn't like the first two books in this series. (Troubletwisters, The Monster). I'm also not an enormous fan of Lisa McMann's Unwanteds series or Whitesides Janitors. I opine all the time that there are too many fantasy books out there. So why do I read these? Why do I buy them? My students. While it is true in my library that there are fewer students who read fantasy books, the fantasy readers are insatiable and often will ONLY read fantasy. I do try to keep all of my students happy. It was a great moment when I delivered books to classrooms on the last day of school before Christmas break-- out of 100 books, I had to get 12 checked out right away, and if it hadn't been past 2:00pm when the shipment came in, it might have been more!
Nix, Garth and Williams, Sean. The Missing (Troubletwisters #4)
April 29th 2014 by Scholastic Press
When Grandma X receives mail from her long long sister Lottie, who was lost to The Evil in some horrific accident with The Evil, she wants to rescue her, but it wo't be easy. It doesn't help that Jack and Jaide are about to undergo their Examination, and exchange student Stefano from Italy moves in with the family. The three do okay on the first couple of exams (the point of which I missed entirely), but The Evil starts talking to them and taunting them to come find Lottie. They eventually seek the help of Rodeo Dave and get more information. Meanwhile, Aleksandr is in charge of Project Thunderclap, which is supposed to defeat The Evil, which is targeting Portland, where the story takes place, specifically. Lottie appears, takes on Stefano and injures Grandma X, and Jack gets sucked into the Evil dimension with Kyle, Tara and Cornelius, where they fight bugs and other things. Stefano and Jaide volunteer to help with Project Thunderclap, which involves drawing power from storms into a lodestone. In the Evil dimension, Jack meets Lottie and makes some progress at getting to the portal, but then stalls. Luckily, Jaide makes it through to him and helps guide Jack's ship through the vortex, bringing The Evil into Portland with them. Will Grandma X be able to defeat The Evil?
Strengths: Lots of action and adventures, things blowing up, and running around. The characters are fairly distinct, and I was able to follow along by keeping notes.
Weaknesses: Still a little unsure about whole point, why and how they manage to defeat The Evil, what exactly that is, etc., but that might be because... I just don't care. Pretty sure this is the last book in the series. Hope so, but could be wrong.
Salerni, Dianne K. The Inquisitors Mark (Eighth Day #2)
January 27th 2015 by HarperCollins
Jax is hiding in the backwoods with Evangeline and the Crandalls after the huge explosion at the Mexican pyramids. They hope to find Evangeline's sister-- since she is the only other Emrys alive, it is important to keep her safe, but she has run away from the safe house where she has been for years. Jax's friend Billy is kidnapped by Jax's uncle and his family and the group ends up in New York. Uncle Finn claims that Jax's father was deluded, and that really Grandma Ursula and everyone else is perfectly nice, and Jax should leave Riley's care and come to live with them. At least cousin Dorian is helpful, and Jax manages to find out all manner of information about his family, although none of it is very conclusive. Jax strongly suspects that Adeline is being hidden in the building, but there are a lot of things going on, and it's not easy to work through layers of magic to get to her. Brownies are also being kept prisoner, and Dorian is able to go through their tunnels, although his sister has no power and has been experimented on by her family. There's an epic struggle at the end, resulting in the death of some major characters, but Adeline once again slips through the group's grasp. Sure to be a book three to tidy up some ends.
Strengths: This series has a lot of readers in my library-- everyone from fans of The Lightning Thief and Gerald Morris (I sell it on the Arthurian connection) to the fans of Blue Bloods and City of Bones (sell it on the urban action/adventure and the slight romance between Jax and Evangeline). Solidly written, this has unexpected turns, and an interesting extended family dynamic. I have students eagerly awaiting our copy.
Weaknesses: A lot going on, so my fantasy amnesia quit a little. I also wanted to slap Adeline before I even met her, so am curious to see what her story is.