A review by Joey Madia
As indicated by the title, and as is often the case with a series, the scope of Book II becomes larger, with bigger, weightier problems to solve. Sharoo is now an acknowledged hero in her country and with it comes responsibility.
Although only touched on near the end of Book I, the notion that a Floater/spirit guide cannot tell you everything—that you must figure things out and choose your own path—is central to the sequel. This is an important aspect of spiritual work, either within formal religions or in a more general spiritual practice. Additionally, Empowerment is a must in stories for youth, so it was good to see this take on more prevalence in Book II.
Meditation is also a core subject of the sequel, with Sharoo leading a class in it. Rowe does an excellent job of outlining both the benefits and challenges of meditation practice.
Rowe also touches on alcoholism, which affects many families. I look forward to the outcome of what is set in motion here in the final book of the trilogy.
As a professional paranormal investigator and author I also want to mention that Rowe is knowledgeable in this area, with many of the events that take place in Book II squarely in the realm of the case studies and literature on these phenomena.
Rowe is also good at paying off reader IOUs. Plot mysteries touched on in Book I are revealed in Book II and there are other reveals that respect the reader and juice the plot. This is not always the case with YA books, and Rowe is to be applauded.
There is a situation in Book II that is concerning, similar to the derogatory, stereotypical description of the witch I mentioned from Book I, and that is that spells and incantations are made light of. This is a missed opportunity for more education. Mantra-based meditation, using Sanskrit, is based on the quality and energy of sounds. Further, in books like these that are concerned with vocabulary, mentioning the fact that the spelling of words comes from spell-ing (magic through words) would have been value-added. This could be a lesson in both Intention and in the inherent power of the sounds of the words we choose to use, and not just their meaning.
The first two books in the trilogy are Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Winners for ages 9 to 12. As I was completing this review the publisher, Larson, announced that the third book in the trilogy has also won this award.