What an enthralling sequel to 'Orphans of the Tide' this is! Struan Murray has expanded his vivid, engrossing world, building further intrigue and mystery. 'Shipwreck Island' propels the mythology on and ends on such a cliffhanger that the third book can't come soon enough.
My review of the first book here: https://www.chrissoul.co.uk/reviews-16/orphans-of-the-tide
Having left the dangers of the City, orphans Ellie and Seth arrive at a new, tropical island with a huge ship wrecked at its centre. A mysterious queen rules from above and everything seems peaceful; an ideal place to make a new home. But shadows are moving. Memories are stirring. There's a struggle for power as the island slowly reveals the secrets of its past...
Shipwreck Island is a fantastic new setting and Struan Murray has a gift for world-building. He conjures atmosphere and sensual details like a God in mischievous play. He has a knack for evoking startling imagery. In 'Orphans of the Tide' there's the whale on the church, now we have a huge ship on its side at the centre of an exotic island by a volcano. Everything is lavish and cinematic, strengthened by Manuel Sumerac's superb illustrations, but it's all for a purpose. What Struan Murray does brilliantly is ensure his world-building is intrinsically linked to the characters, their strange memories and the role they play. Ellie and Seth are complex, exciting characters and here they learn more about themselves and are tested to their limits. The introduction of new characters also sets up new friendships and conflicts - and nothing is as it seems. Children are put into positions of power and it's interesting to see how they develop and cope - even a boy called Molworth who runs the pub! This is a story about how people handle power and truth, and what individual responsibility means. The political, the mythological and the magical weave potently together.
'Shipwreck Island' is just as riveting and engrossing as its wonderful predecessor, setting up a high stakes third book. I can't wait to find out what happens!