The Perilous Realm Trilogy, Book 2
Finished: Jan. 15, 2012
First Published: Jan. 10, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Genre: children, fantasy
He was leaving tonight.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.
Publisher's Summary: "The Perilous Realm is not just a world with stories in it. This world is Story. Whatever you might find in a story, you will find here. Adventures, strange encounters, riddles. Heroes and monsters. Bravery, goodness and terrible evil."
Will has returned from his exhilarating adventure in the Realm and is back at home with his family trying to go through the motions of ordinary life. But he is dogged by feelings of restlessness and is desperate to see Rowen again. It's not long before he obeys the irresistible pull to return to Fable and resumes his quest. Will is shocked to discover that in the time since he left he's become a legend. He is greeted as a returning hero. Soon enough, Will may have to test his true heroism: Rowen is missing and in great danger. Will must stop the evil Malabron before Rowen and all of Fable are swept up by his wicked scheme."
The first book in this trilogy was published in 2008 and I read it at that time. That book had ended with the conclusion of it's main plot although leaving it open for a next book to carry on with an overall arching plot. I had basically forgotten about this series when I saw the second volume was finally out and vaguely remembering a fondness for the story decided to carry on with it. I barely remembered any of the plot of book one as I went into this but that was ok because this book starts off with a brief page and a half summary of book one and then throughout the story mentions events from book one to refresh the readers' memory. These bits certainly don't go into any great details, but are welcomed by a reader who was with the author four years ago for the first book.
I had some issues with the first book and they've been solved this time around. Will is a much more fleshed out character and I've grown more fond of him. Again this is a typical high fantasy story with a quest and a motley cast of travelling companions. Joining Will is old friend Shade the wolf, and eventually Flinn Madoc the Dwarf but we have a new fun and interesting character in Balor the wildman. Once again, even though I enjoyed the story and characters, I did find it a slow read, like the first one and I find it hard to explain way, except perhaps the writing style. While I was hooked on the plot, I just didn't find it a page-turner. Wharton has created a unique world here in which Will Lightfoot can travel from his own Earth with the convenience that weeks on Earth are equal to about a year in the Story Realm allowing him much time to complete his adventures.
This book doesn't have quite as satisfying an ending as book one did. Yes, the main subplot that runs through the volume is solved and comes to a conclusion but the over all story arch running throughout both volumes is more pronounced in this book and the final ending, while not being a cliffhanger, is indeed a foreshadowing of what is to come in the next volume. With this kind of ending I can only hope readers do not have to wait another four years for the next book! Recommended for those who like their fantasies to consist of a quest with evil vs good and a cast of characters such as dwarfs, wildmen, horsemen, mages, seers, etc.