141. Rapacia by Dale E. Basye

Rapacia by Dale E. Basye, Illustrations by Bob Dob
The Second Circle of Heck

Pages: 362
Ages: 10+
Finished: Aug. 8, 2009
First Published: Jul. 28, 2009
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

As many believe, there is a place above and a place below.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series. I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Marlo has been moved to the second circle of Heck, Rapacia, where the greedy children go. This is a place where they are tempted with all sorts of things they could want but of course they can't have it. All their courses at school are business classes run by the likes of pirates and world class fences. The vice-principle here is a very strange metallic rabbit that speaks in rhyme called the Grabbit. Marlo is joined by a couple of her nemesis classmates from book one and a handful of new female classmates making for a unique class of characters. Marlo makes friends with the girl called Normal (Norm for short). Marlo falls under the spell of the Grabbit doing his dirty work. On the Surface Milton tries to find a way to communicate with Marlo.

This book proved to be quite different with the first and much better in my opinion. Especially since all the toilet humour from book one was gone. This book concentrates mostly on Marlo and her female classmates in Rapacia, but Milton's story and unique problems turn up about every third chapter or so. Several characters from book one return and a host of new characters are introduced, while some characters from book one are referred to. This leads me to believe that each book in the series will focus on certain characters leaving a large host of characters to pop up here and there. I like this idea and hope it proves true.

The story this time around is much more in-depth by means of plot and characterization of Milton and Marlo. Which really means to say, the problems I had with book one were not present this time around. The book and characters are simply a whole lot of fun, there are no themes to discover or hidden symbolism; it's just a whole lot of fun with plenty of action, humour and adventure. Tweens are especially going to enjoy this series, as will anyone else who just wants to read for some silly fun.

The book leaves us with plenty of threads hanging, a funny yet evil little cliffhanger and a guess as to who the next book will be about with the announcement of Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck available July 2010 at the end. After the first book I wasn't sure if I'd continue with this series but now I've grown fond of the characters and enjoyed this book so much more than the first (which I did enjoy) that I will certainly be back next July with the Third Circle of Heck.

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