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Whilst some books in a series stand alone, this is DEFINITELY a book 3. Our heroes get back together in order to collect a talisman, talking all the while about the fact that they have more talismans to get, that the war is progressing and that there isn't much hope - translation: there's another book after this people, look out for it.
The boys (aged 7 & 9) are enjoying this series, but I have to say I found this book to be pretty similar to the last one. There is lots of fantasy action, more bonding with your spirit animals (which spring to life from the dormant state as a tattoo on your arm) and more team bonding. Which is all great, but (as an adult) I'd just like a bit more plot for my money. At this rate the series will take about 12 books; not going anywhere fast. Sigh.
The nail in the coffin for me was the narrator, Nicola Barber, who believes that an anquished, softly wistful tone needs to be used to signify every thing from longing, to regret, to terror, to joy. This is fine in short bursts but as this book contains large amounts of warfare, she seemed to be constantly whispering in a high, girly, plaintive tone. It made me want to shake her and tell her to man up, plus the kids kept asking me to turn the sound up. I'm not sure I want to listen to the next book if this keeps up, the boys however would disagree I'm sure as they are loving the plot line. I might insist they read the next one themselves.
What can I say, the story continues to improve as we go from book to book
Bring on the final episode!