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An excellent bridge to part three
on October 7, 2005
Middle books in trilogies can be tricky. Not only must they sustain the story introduced in the first installment, they must develop it sufficiently to keep the reader turning pages before handing everything off to the last of the trio. Good middle books do this; very good middle books leave the reader impatient for the finale and keep him or her thinking about where the story is likely to go for quite some time. I am happy to report that T.A. Barron has done that and more with the second installment of The Great Tree of Avalon.
The book is divided into three separate story lines after an unsettling beginning that finds Tamwyn, Ellie, Briona and Scree atop Hallia's Peak, awaiting a vision they hope will tell them how and where to begin their fight to save Avalon and finally defeat Rhita Gawr and his minion, Kulwich. No sooner has this vision unfolded than a shocking attack kills one of the rarest creatures in Avalon and wounds Scree. From there, Tamwyn, Ellie and Scree must follow separate paths, hoping the results of their journeys will return Avalon and the stars overhead back to a healthy state.
As each character follows their quest, their growth and realization that their need and feelings for other members of the story unfold in ways that feel right and contribute to the flow of the story. Enough happens in this middle part of the trilogy to keep you turning pages while leaving a setup for a dandy finale in the book to come. Tamwyn and Ellie both do some growing up in this book, but the surprise is how the events in the book effect Scree. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found myself pondering how T.A. Barron will resolve some of the seemingly impossible challenges that face the characters by the final page.