The sequel to Hollow Earth is enrapturing from the start, and we soon figure out that there is a whole lot more to this story than first thought. Solon's story, dated in the middle ages, finally begins to make sense when we realise that Matt and Emily have one amazing animare power fairly early on in the book. Every aspect of the plot from then on is driven by this realisation to enable a very complex and interesting story. The children find themselves in much more grave situations than before, and finally all the tiny pieces of information that we have been fed are culminating and turning into action. This is a whole lot darker than the previous installation.
While some questions from the first book get answered, a good deal more are brought forward to make you question the motives of every adult involved in the book. One issue, though, is that the book appears to go entirely away from the societies that were chasing the Calders and into something with a lot more depth. Considering the Hollow Earth Society was such a large aspect of the first book, it feels strange that it has been written out entirely of this one.
As this is the second book of the series, you can expect a few plot twists, as well as a gaping cliffhanger, the likes of which I'm not sure I want to even live with. The story has a great pace and the characters develop slightly by coming into themselves as individuals instead of brother and sister. Speaking of which, this is something I have always had an issue with; the twin thing. As a twin myself, I get a bit huffy with the way that twins act in real life (if they're really creepy like the Cheeky girls, or just plain annoying like Jedward) Generally speaking, I don't feel it's a big deal that two beings were born at once, it happens all the time with mammals, and it's nothing newor interesting. in the first book, the twin treatment was slightly grating; the ability to telepath, the weird knowing exactly what they're thinking, it was all a bit twin cliche. However, as the story has progressed and the twins are growing up, you see many more differences and brother and sisterly feelings and thoughts. yes, they still telepath, and yes, there is an eye-roll-worthy part where Emily says she would be able to feel if Matt were gone, but other than that everything was peachy.
The writing was a nice surprise for me. The first book felt a little young for me, but this book was more complex and filled with more action and less getting-away-from-adults-because-they-can. I liked the change and thought it actually added more to the story as a whole.
A good, fast-paced read, suitable for teens but also for adults who love a bit of YA fiction. 8 out of 10.