Saturday, April 29, 2017

Umberland by Wendy Spinale - ADVISABLE

Spinale, Wendy Umberland (Everland #2), 288 pages.  Scholastic, 2017.  $18.  Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG

The promised cure at the end of Everland turned out to be worse than nothing at all.  The disease has accelerated and the only cure may be the very thing that was used to create the disease in the first place – a poisoned apple.  Duchess Alyssa has been trying to run things while the Queen of England is wasting away and the Queen’s younger sister, Katt, is descending into madness, but when Alyssa ventures into the Poison Garden, she learns from Maddox Hadder that she can only find the poisoned apple on the continent, inside the most dangerous labyrinth of all.

The action in this sequel is split into three – Alyssa and Maddox, Pete and Gwen, and Hook and Jack – yep, those two are not dead yet – which makes the action a little jumpy.  While I have read a couple of Alice retellings that I have enjoyed, in general I am not a big fan.  I found the first book’s Peter Pan origins amusing; this time I had to get over being annoyed.  I also had to get over being mad about Spinale turning the last book’s victory into an utter defeat – it felt like a cheap plot driver, like she was told – hey, we’ll pay you for a sequel – and she thought – dang, how can I make this all go longer?  I know, screw everyone after they thought they were safe.  On a funny note, however, I didn’t know anything about Northumberland before I read this book.  Then my husband, who is not a reader, is planning a trip for us to England this summer; he asked me if I wanted to go see the Poison Garden in Northumberland!  I just had to laugh, because the coincidence was too amazing.  Anyways, while not as brilliant as the first, Umberland is still a good read.
MS, HS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

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