CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 21. . . .February 5, 2016
Shadow Wrack. (The Edrich Manor Series; Book 2).
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2016.
163 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $12.99 (pbk.), $12.99 (pdf), $8.99 (epub).
ISBN 978-1-4597-3205-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4597-3206-3 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4597-3207-0 (epub).
Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.
Review by Janet Johnson.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
“What?” Tengu’s eyes almost popped out of his head. The others too were staring at her in disbelief. “Horace, that thing is Horace?” squeaked Mab. “How? And …. why?” sputtered Robert. “I don’t know how or why but it has to be him!”
Willa was certain now, and the words poured out. “We haven’t been able to find him, right? I saw him earlier, but he disappeared about the same time the griffin appeared. And every time I call Horace, the griffin comes. I think Horace went into the black crevice and …changed.”
Shadow Wrack is a sequel to Eldritch Manor. Willa, the 12-year-old heroine, is still involved with the residents of Eldritch Manor, a retirement home for a variety of ancient mythical creatures who could take human form. The manor was destroyed in Eldritch Manor, and, in Shadow Wrack, it is repairing itself by growing from the ground upwards. The various characters who played a role in Eldritch Manor are now scattered while they wait for the house to renew itself. New characters, such as dwarves, are introduced in this sequel, but Dinah the dinosaur is absent. Willa is no longer their caretaker, but she keeps in touch with the residents. In fact, since her adventure in Eldritch Manor, she has a problem adjusting to being an ordinary school girl.
Just as in Eldritch Manor, danger comes in the form of black holes where creatures of the Dark Side enter Willa’s world. In Shadow Wrack, Willa finds dark holes in her bedroom and Horace’s hotel room and soon discovers that anger forms these dark holes. As these holes are discovered, sinister birds from the dark side come through, and it is up to Willa and her senior friends to fight them off. The most dangerous creature to come through the hole in a crevice in the local park is a griffin.
Even though there is lots of action, the plot is very simple. As well, even though the characters readers meet throughout the story are not developed in any depth, they are fanciful. The story of Belle, Willa’s grandmother and a mermaid, is not developed which is disappointing as it showed promise in the first book. The mystery surrounding Willa’s grandmother is not resolved, and readers are left wondering why she has abandoned Willa’s mother. However, the antics and conflict between the dwarves and the fairies is humourous, and their Queen Mab is quite a character.
I find it disturbing that Willa’s parents play a very small role in the story as parents should offer some sort of protection. For instance, Willa’s mother asks Willa get rid of a phoenix without offering any help or advice. She also allows Willa to go to the park alone late at night, a situation which would never be allowed except in a fictional plot.
I think Shadow Wrack would be enjoyed primarily by girls ages 8-12 who are interested in fantasy stories, especially books with fairies.
Janet Johnson is a retired librarian who used to teach Children’s Literature for the Library Technician Program at Red River College in Winnipeg, MB.
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