Riley, James The Stolen Chapters (Story Thieves #2), 354 pages. Aladdin (Simon), 2016. $17. Content: PG (some danger).
Bethany is determined to find her father, lost somewhere inside a storybook, even if it means she has to break every rule that she so carefully impressed upon Owen not too long ago. But when she wakes up, she finds herself strapped to a chair with chains, in a room that is filling with water. Who is holding her captive and what do they want from her? Meanwhile, Owen and Kiel wake up in the middle on Owen’s mother’s library – it’s on fire and between them they have very few memories of the last few days – and worst of all, Kiel can’t access his magic. Only through wide-spaced flashbacks are the two beginning to put together what has happened to them.
Riley comes very close to descending into the “it was all just a dream” trope of dealing with a complicated situation that takes place mostly within the world of books – just barely skirting the edges of treating his readers like fools and “ha, ha, I tricked you” style of writing. I was not amused as an adult reader. There was no pay-off to Riley’s writing choices until 2/3 through the book – and then I was confronted by another set of the writer keeping secrets from the reader scenes. While I will buy the book because I have the first one, I won’t be promoting it or its sequel with any enthusiasm.
EL – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher