*** (3) out of 5 stars
This is apparently the second book in a series; a fact that I was not aware of when I started reading it. But, other than some apparent inside jokes about past events that I wasn’t privy to, I didn’t seem to be missing much, at least not anything that pertained to the plot of the story. There is definitely going to be at least one more book in the series, because although it didn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, there were definitely enough unresolved issues that the story will need to be continued.
I really enjoyed the diverse cast of characters, from the snarky teenagers to the bizarre camp counselors to the rather stereo-typical bad guys to the stubborn llama. Even though most of the main characters were boys, there were a few strong female characters whom I really liked. I would have like to have seen more magic, especially given the title of the book and also the premise of the camp where the main story took place. But perhaps there will be more in the next installment as what we did see was fairly concentrated in the last bit of the book.
The story is mostly told in third person, but there are times when the narrator speaks directly to the reader (which I always find annoying) and other times when he even talks in first person. Personally, I found the narrator extremely annoying; but probably many people will find him entertaining, especially those in the targeted market of middle grade kids. I was especially put off by the narrator describing what was happening with the main cast of characters at Earth Ranch on Price Island, when we later found out that the entire time he was aboard a ship with no way of knowing what was happening on the island. It was just weird.
I also found the constant reference to footnotes about various points in the story annoying. Especially since I read this on my phone via Kindle and I didn’t find it exactly easy to flip back and forth between the main narrative and the footnotes. Besides which, the footnotes were very random and often not even relative. And the appendix I found even more annoying, particularly the story about magic versus science, which didn’t accomplish anything more than to offend cat lovers everywhere.
The ending was rather disappointing overall, as they ended up just relating what happened, instead of having it occur in the story as pretty much everything else did. It just seemed rather lazy of the author to present it that way.
Still, overall, it was an entertaining book and one that I am sure the middle grade target market would really enjoy.
I received an eBook copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.