It feels like I read the first book in this series like a week ago, but it was more like two weeks ago lol. I love it when I’m able to catch up on a new series that I’m into and I’m so glad to have read this one to add to my love of Seanan McGuire. Thanks to Tor dot com for the gifted book.
After climbing Over the Woodward Wall and making their way across the forest, Avery and Zib found themselves acquiring some extraordinary friends in their journey through the Up-and-Under.
After staying the night, uninvited, at a pirate queen’s cottage in the woods, the companions find themselves accountable to its owner, and reluctantly agree to work off their debt as her ship sets sail, bound for lands unknown. But the queen and her crew are not the only ones on board, and the monsters at sea aren’t all underwater.
The friends will need to navigate the stormy seas of obligation and honor on their continuing journey along the improbable road
Writing as A. Deborah Baker, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Seanan McGuire takes our heroes Avery and Zib (and their friends Niamh and the Crow Girl) on a high seas adventure, with pirates and queens and all the dangers of the deep as they continue their journey through the Up-and-Under on their quest for the road that will lead them home….
Welcome to a world of talking trees and sarcastic owls, of dangerous mermaids and captivating queens in this exceptional tale for readers who are young at heart in this companion book to McGuire’s critically-acclaimed Middlegame and the sequel to Over the Woodward Wall.
If you’re wondering if you need to read book 1 before you read this one, have no fears. Seanan McGuire does a really excellent job of catching you up right at the beginning of the story. I think my favorite part of both of these books is the narrator. At one point, the narrator does break the fourth wall and speak to us and honestly, it was so good. It’s got this fairy tale like quality to it as if you can easily read this on audiobook and feel like a kid at reading time listening to a story unfold.
While I’m not 100% sure if this story is for kids, I did love following along while Avery, Zib, Niamh, and Crow Girl continued their journey to the Impossible City. This time, they fall down a well and land in a clever ocean that helps them find someone who can point them in the right direction.
I feel like a lot of this book was setup and explanation for what happened in the first book. Unlike the first one, this had very little action and really didn’t move the story much along. In fact, it very much read like the second book in a series; you know, the one that explains some things a bit more and sets you up for the next book. It did have some really interesting character development and I was intrigued by the pirates and the adventures, but it felt more like an explanation. I felt like book one was about Crow Girl and how she lost her name and turned into a murder of crows and this one is about the drowned girls and the Lady of Salt and Sorrows (the patron of Niamh’s world).
It’s not a fault of the book, I was expecting more of the action I saw in book one, but when I readjusted and realized this book was going to explain some things and actually build on the character development, that’s when I liked it more.
Because it’s more about the characters than the plot, I felt like it had way more quotable moments. I was finding myself dog-earing every few pages with the beautiful words about life, finding yourself, and being who you’re supposed to be. There’s a lot of growth happening for Avery and Zib. Not only are they learning about this weird world they found themselves in, but they’re also learning things about themselves. Like how Avery is learning to let go of everything being perfect and how Zib is learning that she’s not defined by the body she’s born into.
While this story doesn’t have a lot of action, there’s a lot in the book that’s worth exploring. The worlds may be different from ours, but the lessons feel the same and it’s always fun to see where the adventures takes Avery and Zib.
Overall, this is a good one especially if you’re a fan of fairy tales. The storytelling is excellent and while the plot doesn’t move much, it’s definitely got merit in learning more about the kids, the Up-and-Under, and what they’re both capable of.