The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty Review: As to a thunderstorm in a dragon’s tail

December 9, 2015 by Jenna | 3 stars, ARC Reviews, Books, Reviews

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty Review: As to a thunderstorm in a dragon’s tailThe Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty
Series: The Colours of Madeleine #2
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on February 27th 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Astonishingly original
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! 

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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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20 responses to “The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty Review: As to a thunderstorm in a dragon’s tail

  1. I think there was still plenty of stuff going on for it to be satisfying but the pace of this sequel was just a bit slow. It definitely could've been a bit more fast-paced. But I still really enjoyed it and the ending was really good and had me looking forward to the last book. I think the last one will be a half-half contemporary and fantasy, which I'm really excited about!

    • Yeah it was still a really enjoyable book and had me looking forward to the last one in the trilogy! I wouldn't say that this second book was completely fantasy – there were still some contemporary elements – but it was much more fantastical than the first one! I think the final book will be a more even blend of contemporary and fantasy again 🙂

  2. sumlynnnguyen

    Ah no. I so understand what you mean by how weird pacing (or in this case slow) can ruin the reading experience some. And that's interesting that this one took a more fantasy approach than the last one. Have you read Rebel Belle, by the way? It's another story in the contemporary/fantasy crossover genre.
    My recent post It’s Okay, That’s Love

    • Oh! I've had Rebel Belle on my list for ages but never picked it up. I might give it a go because a kickass female protector character sounds awesome!

    • Hehe yeah. It's a strange blend of contemporary and fantasy. I think the reason why the covers look contemporary is because it features 'Madeleine' on the cover and she's a girl who's living in Cambridge, England but communicating with a boy who lives in a fantasy world. But I'm enjoying the whole contemporary/fantasy blend.

    • I liked the world building in this one. If you loved Book 1, I can see you really enjoying this one because we get to explore Cello a little bit more and see how the different provinces operate. It was super interesting and there's also a bit more plot in this one too!

    • The first book is wonderful and if you enjoy it, this sequel is not bad at all. The pace is slow but there's enough to latch on to to get through it. I hope you give it a go, Joy!

  3. Nick

    I remember seeing the first book around, but I never would have guessed that it was a contemporary series with fantasy elements.
    It's a shame about the slow pacing in this sequel though. I struggle with that often. I'm glad the second half picked up though.
    Lovely review!
    My recent post Waiting on Wednesday (165)

    • I definitely would have enjoyed the book a lot more if it was a bit faster in pace. There's so much to love about this series that I'm happy to persist through it though. It's just got such a light and magical feel to it that you can't help but feel a little bit uplifted while reading it. Thanks for visiting, Nick!

  4. Darn it, after completing firing off a great beginning in the first book, it sounds like this one crawled, especially with the lack of total world building here! I'm really intrigued with the cracks though and how they're almost akin to alternate realities.

    • The cracks are super interesting and I think we'll definitely be learning more in Book 3. It was interesting to think about how or where Cello exists in relation to the World. There was no map that you could use to find where a crack would take you. Cracks next to each other in Cello could take you to opposite sides of the World and I thought the whole aspect of locating the missing Royal family was really interesting.

  5. Nuhhh author why you no explain how Colours work??
    Gosh, I really don't like it when books skim over explaining thing, it kind of takes away from the believability (especially when they TRY to via theories and such). However, I do like that there is more of an emphasis on the fantasy world though! Maybe the third book will be half and half?
    (Also, it seems like the covers of the book get prettier as the series continues haha)

    • I think I was just too stupid to understand some of the explanations. Physics is definitely not my strong suit haha. There were lots of mirrors and light involved. And electricity and magnets. I was so lost! And I really, really, really wanted to know more about the Colours! I mean, the name of the trilogy is The Colours of Madeleine. And this book had very little Colours or Madeleine. It was still a good book but it was a bit too slow and underdeveloped for me to give it 4-5 stars.

    • They'd definitely be great for a binge read! The endings to both of these books, though not cliffhangery, left me wanting to know what happens next. I can't wait to get my hands on the final book! It's going to be epic!

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