Fantasy adventures are some of my favorite reads, especially for middle grade and young adult audiences. In addition to the exciting plot points, the characters are often learning important lessons that are understood no matter the given environment. The Emblem Island series is an epic adventure that blends action and human emotional growth in a page-turning way. I reviewed the first book for Children’s Literature earlier this year and was thrilled to receive an ARC of book two through NetGalley.
When last we left our intrepid adventurers, Tor, Melda, and Engle were home, a month after Tor received a wealth of power from the Night Witch, herself. A mysterious girl washes up onto shore, injured and carrying an ominous message about the impending arrival of the Calavera—pirates that many believed to be remnants of folklore. Tor and his friends are uniquely equipped to protect their precious city of Estrelle, venturing to the far reaches of their world aboard the Night Witch’s enchanted boat. Facing ever more dangerous foes, this group of brave youth must use their powers to outsmart and outpace the nefarious pirates to find the fabled Pirate’s Pearl before it is too late. Please see my full review here.
This second installment brought me right back to Emblem Island without skipping a beat. Though I had read several books between these two, the characters and plot came back easily as Tor and his friends got going on their next adventure. Excerpts from the Book of Seas are interspersed between nearly every chapter, giving this story the feel of a legend come to life. Action-focused and magic-filled, the young adult protagonists are pursuing the Pirate’s Pearl without much outward assistance from adults. Though this is not always easy, each character has a strength that helps the others survive. Occasional drama and lack of trust impede the advancement of the plot, but the companions quickly learn how to collaborate despite their differences.
For those of you who are interested, there are some occasions of violence and death in this book, but no overt romantic references. Advanced younger readers are sure to enjoy this story as much as older ones.
Diving back into this world was even more exciting than the first book, and I’m waiting with bated breath for Book Three to be released. If you like action-packed fantasy adventures with magic and pirates, this is a must-read!
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