On my quest to finish series, I picked up The Shadow World by Jane Johnson, second book in the Eidolon Chronicles. (Read my review of Book One, The Secret Country.) The Eidolon Chronicles centers on Ben, an ordinary boy who finds out his mother is really the Queen of a magical country. She came to our world to marry Ben’s father, but now they’ve discovered that in her absence, the magic is dying and the country is being taken over by the evil, dog-headed Dodman.
The second book picks up soon after the first. Ben’s mother, Isadora, has resolved to return to her country to fight the Dodman. Ben’s older sister Ellie follows her, and Ben and his father follow Ellie. Isadora’s negotiations with the Dodman take a very difficult turn when he captures Ellie. Ben and his friends, including Iggy the talking cat (my favorite character), have to go to the rescue.
This book was good for what it was and disappointing for what it wasn’t. There was nothing exactly wrong with what was there, but there just wasn’t much. As they say, there was no there there. This felt very much like a sequel, especially one that’s Book Two of a trilogy. It didn’t move anything much forward, either in plot or in character development. Isadora goes back to the magic country at the very beginning, and a couple of villians join forces at the very end, and everything in-between felt mostly unnecessary to developing any larger story. The main conflict was rescuing Ellie, but her capture felt contrived.
I don’t mean to make this an entirely negative review though. The characters were still engaging, the magic was still interesting. I just wanted more that was new. I wanted the characters to be gaining more depth, or to encounter new and different magic. There was a little of that, but it didn’t feel like enough. We did get to know Ellie a bit better, and there was a little more of Awful Cousin Cynthia, who’s a great creepy villain.
This was a perfectly fun book, but it also seemed to lack any real purpose. I’m still going to read the last book in the trilogy. The first book introduced everything, and hopefully the third will tie everything up. The second book probably just suffers from being, well, the second book of a trilogy, with no purpose except to mark time between the beginning and the end. Still, if you read the first book and like it, it’s worth reading the second. Just don’t expect too much, and plan to move quickly along to the third!
Author’s Site: http://www.janejohnsonbooks.com/