From Publishers Weekly
In this second adventure in the Pendragon Quartet, readers find 14-year-old Bobby Pendragon traveling through the "flume" to Cloral with his Uncle Press, in pursuit of Saint Dane. This waterworld with a vague Australian/Atlantis air will likely intrigue fans who enjoyed the aquatic world of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the teamwork escape aspect of Journey to the Center of the Earth. Bobby is still uncertain about what happened to his family after he was recruited as a "Traveler," a heroic role that first pitted him against the shapechanging monster, Saint Dane, in the series' debut, The Merchant of Death. It's a radically different life from that of junior high student in Stony Brook, Conn., where his friends Mark and Courtney eagerly await the journals in which he updates them with the latest events from various colorful "Territories." In the fabled city of Faar, beneath the waves, Bobby meets Spader, who is also a Traveler, and quickly becomes his first mate. Unbeknownst to Spader, his submerged city is partially responsible for the peace felt above the surface in the floating habitats. When Saint Dane decides to annihilate Faar, Bobby and his Traveler buddies must race to outwit the villain. MacHale embellishes his science fiction with just enough silly touches to leaven the mood; for instance, when the magic ring that Bobby gave Mark twitches (which means it's about to "deliver" Bobby's journals), it expands so that Mark must remove it, and the glowing stone transforms into a "black hole," spewing musical notes and light. Next up: The Never War, which will feature First Earth, circa 1937. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-Just back from saving the population of Denduron from the evil shape-changer Saint Dane in The Merchant of Death (Aladdin, 2002), 14-year-old Bobby Pendragon and his Uncle Press are fluming off again, this time to Cloral, where Saint Dane is again causing mayhem. In this beautiful blue-green world covered with water, Bobby learns to navigate via water sled, lives and works on one of the giant floating habitats that serve as farms and factories as well as homes, and makes friends with Vo Spader, an expert aquaneer. The mission is to find the legendary lost city of Faar before Saint Dane can use it in his quest to control the universe. The story is long, the action is fast and furious, and things aren't exactly calm back on Second Earth, as Bobby's Connecticut friends follow the story via the journals he sends back. The town bully has discovered one of the pages and is threatening to expose Bobby's secret mission to the police (who have no idea why Bobby and his family have disappeared) if Mark and Courtney don't share the journals with him. The science is thin but the ideas are clever and the descriptions inviting and easy to picture. Character development is minimal and limited to fairly stereotypical good guys and bad guys. However, the teenaged protagonists enlist readers' sympathy and involvement and the nonstop plot developments keep the many pages turning and readers wanting more. As the situation on Cloral is resolved, the stage is set for the next book in the series.Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.