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Balance Keepers, Book 2: The Pillars of Ponderay Hardcover – September 22, 2015
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“Full of adventure, strange creatures, and personal conflict, this sequel to The Fires of Calderon (2014) surpasses the original. Nonstop action and plenty of twists propel the plot and pave the way for the next installment.” (ALA Booklist)
Praise for BALANCE KEEPERS #1: THE FIRES OF CALDERON: “There are some engaging elements in this first book of a planned trilogy...Brisk plotting and multiple action scenes...a satisfying choice.” (School Library Journal)
Praise for BALANCE KEEPERS #1: THE FIRES OF CALDERON: “Reminiscent at times of Journey to the Center of the Earth...a smart choice for younger readers, who will find in Albert and his friends great role models.” (ALA Booklist)
Praise for BALANCE KEEPERS #1: THE FIRES OF CALDERON: “Balance Keepers transported me, as if my magic, into a world I didn’t want to leave and wished was real. Fast-paced and packed with adventure-a real gem.” (Patrick Carman, bestselling author of the Skeleton Creek series and the Floors trilogy)
Praise for BALANCE KEEPERS #1: THE FIRES OF CALDERON: “A powerhouse debut filled with imagination and sneaky humor.” (Peter Lerangis, New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Wonders series)
Praise for BALANCE KEEPERS #1: THE FIRES OF CALDERON: “A wild, enchanting adventure I could not put down.” (Roland Smith, author of Peak and Cryptid Hunters)
From the Back Cover
Albert Flynn is psyched to return to the Core, the magical world at the center of the earth where Balance Keepers fix problems in three underground Realms. Last term, Albert and his Balance Keeper teammates Birdie and Leroy saved New York by fixing the Calderon Realm and were crowned First Unit, aka the Coolest Kids in the Core.
Now Albert and his teammates have been called to the Core for an emergency training session . . . along with their archenemy, Hoyt. There's a horrible Imbalance in the Ponderay Realm, and they have only seven days before California will be swallowed by hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
But things feel off in the Core. Their mentor Trey is acting super weird, and Hoyt is beating them fair and square in the training competitions. Even with the superpowers of Albert's Master Tile, Albert, Birdie, and Leroy just can't seem to get their First Unit mojo back.
Worse yet, the Imbalance is way too severe to have been caused by natural means—there's a traitor in their midst.
Will Albert, Leroy, and Birdie discover who's been putting the Core—and the world above—in danger? Can they save Ponderay before California becomes an underwater wasteland forever?
This second book in Lindsay Cummings's epic fantasy adventure series is packed with fantastical creatures, perilous journeys, and the magic of choosing to do what's right.
Top customer reviews
After adoring The Fires of Calderon, I was beyond excited to pick up the second book in the Balance Keepers trilogy by Lindsay Cummings entitled The Pillars of Ponderay. In this sequel, readers follow Albert, Leroy, and Birdie as they are called back to the Core for an emergency during the holiday season. There is an Imbalance in Ponderay, and Team Hydra competes against Team Argon to determine who will get the chance to enter the realm. I was a bit worried about how this second book would compare to the first, but I was happy to love The Pillars of Ponderay even more than The Fires of Calderon.
While The Pillars of Ponderay certainly has moments of darkness, the book is such a joy to read. Albert and his friends are always determined to solve any problem, and I love how teamwork is a central theme in this story. Cummings also upped the ante with her plot in this book. I never knew where the story was going, or which characters to trust. I thought I had everything figured out, but in the end I was wrong! I love when a book has logical twists and turns, and I'm impressed that Cummings could keep me on my toes in this middle grade novel.
Moreover, it was so much fun being in the Core during the holidays. We got to see what the Core is like when the surface-dwellers aren't there, and Team Hydra even gets to take part in a super secret scavenger hunt! I also adored learning more about Albert's family history. We get some more touching moments with Pap, and learn a bit about his time as a Balance Keeper. I hope we get even more time with Pap in the third book!
In terms of my critique, I still do want more information on how the memory loss works when Balance Keepers leave the Core. Why do Balance Keepers lose their memories? Do they lose all knowledge, or just get fuzzy on the details? I'm not sure how this works. I also noticed that this book follows the same general format as The Fires of Calderon, but to me this makes sense as it is a middle grade book. It will be interesting to see what format the third book has.
All in all, I am really loving the Balance Keepers series from Lindsay Cummings. It is so much fun, and it gives me a cozy feeling. I definitely want more people to read this series, and I'm surprised it's not talked about more. If you've read the first book and you are debating whether or not to continue, I highly recommend you do. The Pillars of Ponderay is an extremely strong sequel, and I look forward to finishing out the trilogy very soon.
*This review originally posted on Goodreads
I'd heard great things about Lindsay Cumming's The Murder Complex duology. I hadn't heard many things about her Balance Keepers trilogy, but I had been wanting to read a lot of middle grade fantasy books lately, so I figured I'd try it before The Murder Complex. I ended up loving it. In fact, I loved it so much that I read the entire trilogy in two days, which is no easy feat considering the size of the books.
I loved everything about The Balance Keepers trilogy. I can't think of one thing I disliked about it. It reminded me of Harry Potter, combined with parts of Ender's Game, and brought back a lot of nostalgic feelings for both series. I loved how fast paced the series was. There was never a single moment where I was bored, or wanted to put the book down. It was interesting to see how the main characters used their resources to solve the problems in the realms. There were some that I didn't think they were going to be able to solve, but they did in surprising, and shocking ways.
I loved each and every one of the characters. I don't think i could pick a favorite if I tried. Each one of them had something unique to bring into the trilogy. The three main characters reminded me a bit of Harry, Ron, and Hermione from the Harry Potter series. Even though I didn't like him at first, I even ended up liking Hoyt. He might be a jerk at first, but in the end, he redeemed himself, and became one of my favorite characters.
I was not prepared for this trilogy to end. As I turned the last few pages of The Traitor of Belltroll, it felt like I was losing a home, and a friend. I really hope that Lindsay Cummings writes a spin off series. Maybe she could write one where the main characters are older, and making their decision about whether to live there all the time. However, I'd be happy with any sort of spin off series in this world. I'm not above begging, pleading, and groveling to make this happen. This will definitely be a series I buy physical copies of, read multiple times, and probably read to the children in my life. I'm more than slightly addicted to this trilogy. I really do wish more people would read it.