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Book Reviews, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Middle Grade Readers

THE SECRET WAR by Matt Myklusch

The Secret War is the second book in the Jack Blank series.  (NOTE:  The first book, originally titled Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation–and reviewed in this blog–has been re-issued under the title The Accidental Hero.)

There is good news and bad news in this sequel.  The bad news is that the story is not anywhere near as engaging as the first one–I considered just putting the book down without finishing it.  Jack Blank remains an interesting character, but some of the charisma evident in the first book is lacking here.  There are many more superheroes and villains, but none are as fully developed or as interesting as the ones in the first book–including those that are present in both stories.

The good news is that I did finish reading the book because it had enough suspenseful and intriguing moments sprinkled throughout to motivate me to read the entire tale.  The really exciting part is that the end is unexpected and full of amazing possibilities for the third book–which the author is already writing.  I will not ruin the ending of Book 2 by giving it away.  I will say that the climactic scene in the final chapters is thrilling enough to make your heart beat faster and your fingers anxious to turn every page.  And the final words of the book made me want to read the third installment–something I would not have expected given my disappointment with at least half the book.

It’s important to note that this sequel does not stand well on its own–it is important to read the first book in order to relate to most of the second.  In summary, if you liked Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation/The Accidental Hero, The Secret War is worth reading in order to set the foundation for the third.

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