Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Shane Hegarty (Children’s/Middle grade)

Contains spoilers for the first Darkmouth book!

One world.   Two eras.   Too many legends.

This book is cool.   Back to the Future Part II was cool.   Cool sequels only come along now and again, but this one is an absolute treat.

When last we checked in with Finn, his father was stuck in the alternate world known as the Infested Side, and from the opening pages of this second book in the series, it’s obvious that it’s up to Finn, with some help/hindrance from his friend Emmie and a by-the-book Legend Hunter Administrator Office type guy, to save his father, the world and possibly the other world too.

Most of the action in this book takes place on the Infested Side, which was brilliantly teased and used sparingly in the first book.   The world is therefore expanded and takes on a character of its own, while Mr Hegarty brings us further along in understanding the rules of inter-dimensional travel.   Mainly it’s a lot of fun.

Sometimes a book with lots of action scenes can get caught up in a lot of description of very specific punches, kicks and spinning elbows, but the pace is relentless here.   There is plenty of action and more than a lot of absolute mayhem.   I love when a story has so much mayhem going on that you can nearly hear the noise and see the action in the background while two or three main characters interact with each other, and Hegarty has it down to a tee here.

It’s definitely worth mentioning the illustrations in this book, which become central this time around.   While it’s essential that the descriptions of a book conjure up images in your head as you read, it’s hard to fault the inclusion of such vivid illustrations.   The illustrator, James de la Rue, uses an excellent fine style to really bring the monsters of the Infested Side to life.

Great dialogue also, punchy throughout, especially with the introduction of the uptight Estravon, highly trained but inexperienced administrative type.

All I can say is that I’m already looking forward to the third visit to Darkmouth.

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