Thursday, April 10, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Battle of the Beasts (ARC)

Battle of the Beasts (House of Secrets, 2) by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini, March 25, 2014. 480 pages. Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen. Source: publisher.
Since the siblings' last adventure, life in the Walker household is much improved—the family is rich and the Wind Witch is banished. But no Walker will be safe until she is found, and summoning her to San Francisco brings all the danger that comes with her and puts the Walkers in the crosshairs of a mysterious journey through Denver Kristoff's books. As the Walkers travel from ancient Rome to World War II to Tibet, they'll be tested in ways that cut deeper than before, by Denver Kristoff, the Wind Witch, and each other.
First Sentence:
Brendan Walker knew the package would be there by eight a.m.

After reading House of Secrets earlier this year, and really enjoying it, I knew that I wanted to see what would happen to the Walker children in the next stage of their adventures. While I was definitely saddened going into Battle of the Beasts since the passing of one of the authors late last year, it was an enjoyable read because they did such a great job with the follow up to the first one. 

Battle of the Beasts, the second installment in the House of Secrets series, has more twists, turns and siblings conflict then the first one. And you know what, it definitely worked for the story line and progression of the characters growth. 
      While there were some similarities between the things each of the Walker children did from one book to the next, I loved seeing the way they banded together after all the secrets and trouble they brought upon themselves. The authors, in my humble opinion, did a great job catching the various stages of siblinghood and the strength that can be found therein. 
Sibling angle aside, I really enjoyed how well the authors were able to continue on the story of the Walker children and their conflict with the Wind Witch. The twists within the struggle against her, as well, as the revelations at the end of the book made this such an interesting read. The biggest reveal actually caught me by surprise as I did not see it coming. While I was surprised, on further inspection, I thought it made perfect sense especially when you take into context the personalities of certain characters. Now, I'mnot going to tell you what happened, just that it worked really well and was unexpected. 

Again, Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini did a fantastic job with this one. There writing was tight and fast paced and pulled me right in. They just nailed the sibling interactions and created an intensely absorbing story that just made me want to read it straight through till the end.

What has really drawn me to this series is the Walker children. I have enjoyed reading about their adventures and their general struggle with everything and each other. They have seriously been some of my favorite literary siblings; I love how they can be furious with each other one moment and then forgiving the mistakes of their sibling(s) the next. Truly, I have not read about siblings that I have loved nearly as much as them since the first time I read Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, and A Wrinkle in Time. 
   So, if you like siblings books with some conflict and resolution, then I cannot recommend this series enough. Just saying. 

For me, the only drawback to Battle of the Beasts would have to be that I'm not sure how they're going to be able to continue the series. Which is really quite sad because this series has been quite enjoyable because I've loved the Walkers and watching them struggle with themselves and each other and their desires. So, with the loss of Ned Vizzini, I am unsure if there will be more books to finish off the series, and if there were whether I would continue reading them. 

Final Verdict: Battle of the Beasts- A thrilling follow up to House of Secrets. Fast paced from start to finish.

Don't forget, you can check out my review of House of Secrets, the first in the series.

Battle of the Beasts earns 4 out of 5 griffins

This book was received in exchange for an honest review.

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