Arroyo, Raymond. The Lost Staff of Wonders (Will Wilder #2)
March 7th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher
After the events of The Relic of Perilous Falls, Will and his large group of friends and family are back. Will spends a lot of time cleaning the museum when he would rather be undergoing his Brethren training with his great aunt Lucille, but when the town's river runs afoul with animal blood after the theft of the Rod of Moses, he finds himself drawn into another fight with the forces of evil. His brother and sister also seem to be manifesting powers, which is probably a good thing, since he could use some help. The weird Pothius Sab has come to town to set up his Karnak Center for Regeneration, and the town is sure he will save them, even though he is really channeling the energy of the demon Amon, which is not such a good idea. After the blood, the town is beset by many of the Biblical plagues-- frogs, gnats, etc., and Will knows that he has to find the Rod of Moses before the Sinestri get an even greater hold on the town. Even if this problem is overcome, will Will's work be finished?
Strengths: This had a lot of action and adventure, children saving the world from encroaching evil, and lots of gross plagues, so I can see this being popular with readers who enjoy Rick Riordan or the Clare and Black Iron Trial books.
Weaknesses: I got the feeling that the author was trying for a C.S. Lewis type of allegory, but combining Biblical content with ancient Egyptian mythology dilutes any religious feel. There are also a lot of characters to keep straight.
What I really think: Not my cup of tea, (I think it might have been the river running with blood that made me queasy) but the first book in this series has seen some circulation among my insatiable fantasy fans.