Series: The Colours of Madeleine #2
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on February 27th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Artistic and magical
Time slides around the world so strangely ...
It's not easy being Princess Ko.
Her family is missing, taken to the World through cracks in the Kingdom, which were then sealed tightly behind them.
Now Princess Ko is running the Kingdom, and war is looming.
To help her find her family, she gathers a special group of teens, including Elliot Baranski of the Farms. He's been writing secret letters to a Girl-in-the World named Madeleine Tully - and now the Kingdom needs her help.
Madeleine and Elliot must locate the missing royals, convince them of their true identities, and figure out how to unlock the dangerous cracks between the Kingdom and the World.
All before their enemies can stop them.
The Cracks in the Kingdom was a fun sequel to A Corner of White. The book picks up where the first book left off and we get a glimpse of what the missing Royal family has been doing for the past year. Meanwhile, the last remaining member of the Royal family, Princess Ko, must try to figure out where each member of her family is and how to open up cracks to bring them back through to the Kingdom of Cello. She enlists the help of some talented youths in the Kingdom and Elliot is included in this ‘Royal Youth Alliance’ because of his contact with the World, through Madeleine.
While A Corner of White read more like a contemporary novel that was set in a fantasy world, The Cracks in the Kingdom was closer to a fantasy novel. Most of the book is set in the Kingdom of Cello and follows Elliot’s journey to discovering how to open up the cracks (there’s very little Madeleine in this sequel). We travelled throughout the whole kingdom in this book and I loved learning about the differences between the provinces. Jagged Edge is very technologically advanced and have holographic people who can help you dress. On the other hand, Olde Quainte (like its name suggests) is very old-fashioned and its people dress in ruffles and frills. Their dialect also requires that they must include a simile after every two sentences, as to an apricot tree in a bottleneck, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to see more of Cello and all of its quirks. It was something that I had wanted in the first book, which was set entirely in the Farms, and I’m glad we got it in this sequel, as to a fruitcake on an ostrich.
The sleigh rattled across the snowfields, and the guide called out that he guaranteed a dragon but that werewolf dens were anybody’s guess.
However, what I thought The Cracks in the Kingdom lacked, which I also found lacking in A Corner of White, was an explanation of why the Colours exist and why they continue to attack Cello. The presence of the Colours in this book was very minor, so the questions I had lingering after reading the first book were never answered. There was a strong focus, instead, on the cracks: how they appear, how to widen them, and how to transport a person between the World and the Kingdom of Cello. While this was explored thoroughly and a lot of emphasis was placed on the explanations, I found it very hard to follow. There were lots of references made to scientific theories and while a good attempt was made at explaining the science behind the cracks, I never felt like I had a good grasp of what was going on and I had to resign myself to just believing what was happening. I definitely needed a bit more clarity when it came to the cracks. Also, in this novel, some people do end up travelling between the World and Cello, and it was never fully explained how that happened. I thought it was glossed over and found it hard to believe that it happened (or perhaps it was explained in one of the lengthy sciency spiels and I just didn’t understand).
Another aspect that I had problems with was the pace of this book. It was incredibly slow and hard to get into. I started this book immediately after I finished A Corner of White because I was so intrigued by what would happen next, but I found it difficult to get through the first 200 pages. The pace was similar to what we got in A Corner of White, but it worked for me in that book because it leaned more contemporary than fantasy. For me, The Cracks in the Kingdom, which is much more fantastical, needed to have a bit more action and be quicker in pace. During the first half of the book, I felt like the plot wasn’t progressing very much. There would be a development but then nothing would happen for the next 100 pages. The second half of the book was much more fast-paced and enjoyable and I thought the ending was action-packed and exciting. It definitely left me wanting more.
While this was a great continuation to the trilogy, I found the pace of the book to be too slow during the first half of the book. It was tough to get through and I just wanted the plot to develop a little bit faster. This book definitely could have been 150 pages shorter. I also found it a bit difficult to fully understand the science behind the cracks, and I hope this is explored further in the final book.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing a review copy of the book!