What an enjoyable epic this series is! The follow up to the enormously exciting 'The Light Thieves' is awesome. 'Search for the Black Mirror' is everything you want from a sequel: raised stakes, expanded world-building, fabulous new characters and adventurous set pieces. I enjoyed it immensely.
The sun's light is being stolen. It's a catastrophe for the planet and every living thing on it! Friends Grian, Jeffrey and Shelli are desperately trying to work out how it's happening. They know tech genius Howard Hansom is behind the theft and they're determined to stop him. But they can't use any of Hansom's smart technology in their quest as it will track them wherever they go. The three young heroes need to find a strange black mirror to help them save the sun.
When I reviewed 'The Light Thieves' I referred to it as being like 'Black Mirror for children' so it's suitably apt to discover that an actual black mirror is a part of the plot in the sequel! And it works brilliantly. With the world established so well, 'Search for the Black Mirror' has a lot of fun in exploring more and deepening the mythology. Grian, Jeffrey and Shelli make for such a great dynamic trio too. Later they're joined by a new techie called Mushka, who fits in perfectly to their team.
Helena Duggan has created a wholly unique and timely series; the mix of technology and nature continue to interweave in thought-provoking and exciting ways. The stakes of the world rest on the collision between the wild and the artificial, the mythic and the media. Without giving too much away, the story can pivot from quiet hippy-like spiritual moments to social media mayhem. Forests or hForests can be digital and wild. People can connect through watches, letters and crystals. Imagine Elon Musk battling against tribes who can literally commune with animals while referencing the Aztecs and occultist John Dee, and you get the idea. How can the old renew the world?
'The Light Thieves' series is about the battle between the digital and the analogue to claim or save the world. It's so inventive and fun, and while there is a message about looking after the environment, it's never preachy. This time, I'd like to compare the series to the film 'Don't Look Up'; instead of an asteroid coming, it's the sun blackening out. How does the world react? Will people side with a few children or with a billionaire tech giant? How can the truth come out? What matters to us in the world? With the rise of AI and with the hottest summer on record, these are questions that 'The Light Thieves' series explores through adventure, fantasy, heroism and disaster. It does it so well and will, most importantly, get children to think and ask questions for themselves while having fun along the world.
A terrific sequel to an inventive, challenging and unique eco-adventure tech series! I can't wait for the third book.