Written by Hiromi Goto illustrations by Jillian Tamaki Razorbill/Penguin Group, 2012 978-0-67006-527-1 (hc) $ 21.00 978-0-14318-382-2 (ebook) $12.99 for Grades 7 and up
Fiction | Fantasy
It has been 16 years since the brave Melanie defeated "Mr. Glueskin," restoring the balance of the realms of Spirit, Flesh and the purgatory-like Half World. Sixteen years since she brought the newly reborn Glueskin to the realm of Flesh, there to be raised as a human boy. Sixteen years, while the lingering powers of darkness in Half World slowly grew in strength, preparing to call back the one who once ruled supreme there. And now it is time, and the 16-year-old boy, Gee, is not yet ready.
This sequel to Half World leaps breathlessly into action with only a few short pages of review-prologue to catch us up--but even new readers can dive right into this dark, thoughtful exploration of suffering, morality, and humanity. Goto's central cast--sweetly tough goth Cracker, snarkily mystical White Cat, and in-well-over-hishead Gee--are reassuringly normal companions on our journey through Half World's hallucinatory landscape. Sensitive readers take note: Half World's purpose may be purifying, but Goto's prose is poetically nightmarish and sometimes disturbing, paired beautifully (and creepily) with Tamaki's occasional illustrations.
The temptations Gee faces are powerful and sensual--and, despite the somewhat Buddhist cosmology, there is something reminiscent of Paradise Lost in our villains' central conceit: that it is better to rule in Half World than to be shackled to a former life's sufferings, even if that freedom and power comes at a terrible cost to other souls. Rich, meditative, and a bittersweet pleasure from beginning to end--a fine choice for thoughtful fantasy fans.
Please note: Some tables or figures were omitted from this article.