The Spiderwick Chronicles leave the old-fashioned charm of New England far behind and head south for some fiendish faerie fun in the hot Florida sun. Eleven-year-old Nicholas Vargas only thinks his life has been turned upside down after his developer father remarries and moves his new wife and daughter into the soon-to-be completed Mangrove Hollow.
But an "expedition" to a nearby lake turns up a little nixie with a giant problem - the huge, lumbering, fire-breathing variety - and it's up to Nick; his stepsister, Laurie; and his big brother, Julian (plus a familiar face from the original Spiderwick Chronicles) to figure out the best way to stop a host of rampaging giants before all of Florida goes up in smoke.
We've continued our rereading of the Spiderwick series with the first book in the second series. I didn't enjoy these books as much the first time around and seem to be having the same experience this time as well. Nicolas isn't that likable a character. I think the authors did a good job portraying a middle school (or soon to be middle school) boy. He would rather play a video game than go outside and he resents the introduction of new members to his family. He especially hates that he had to give up his room so that his new step-sister Laurie would have her own. This might seem silly, but if his father is the developer and he is building houses you would think that his own house would have been built with an extra room somewhere, like a guest bedroom or home office that might have been able to be converted into a bedroom. I know children can share, as Julian and Nick do after the remarriage, and my own children have shared on more than one occasion, but we made the effort to convert our attic into bedroom space so that they would all have their own space. Now it may be that Nick's family isn't going to be staying in this house for good, it is just until the development is built or their new home is done, because I do think it was referred to as the model at one point. That doesn't have all that much to do with the story but was one of the tangents my mind took while listening to the audio book.
The faerie beings in this one start to seem more hostile. The two children meet Taloa, a nixie, who has been cut off from her sisters due to the developers dragging her lake and disconnecting it from the larger water ways. She wants Nick and Laurie to help her find her sisters, when they do not agree she causes bad things to happen so they are forced to go back and agree. Even after finding out the fate of three of the sisters Taloa still holds that they have promised to help her find out the fate of all of her sisters.
The giants are another issue. They are waking up after a long sleep. Giants are supposed to sleep for 500 hundred years and people with the site have been hunting and killing them as they slept, but now that they are waking up big problems are about to start.
It was nice to see the twins away from their series and from the outside looking in rather than being with them. Seeing how other characters viewed them gives them a fuller and more real feeling. Jared shows many of the characteristics that defined him in the Spiderwich series. I haven't checked out the next books yet, but we are going to the library this weekend so I am sure my children will insist that we need to look for them!
•Pub. Date: September 2007
•Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
•Format: Hardcover , 192pp
•Age Range: 7 to 11
•Series: Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles Series #1