Title: The City of Guardian Stones (City of Secret Rivers #2)
Author: Jacob Sager Weinstein
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Older children’s fiction/Middle grade, Fantasy
Book format: Paperback
Description: Hyacinth has just saved London, and possibly the world, from a magical conspiracy stretching back centuries. Not bad for a week of summer holiday.
Life isn’t exactly back to normal though Her absent-minded mum is behaving even more strangely than usual, and before Hyacinth can figure out why, she and her new friends, Little Ben and Oaroboarus (the giant swimsuit-wearing pig) have a new mystery to solve.
When Hyacinth discovers that ancient Roman stones are being stolen from all around London, she’ll need all the help she can get to stop the dastardly Minnie Tickle…
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: I love this second instalment in series which keeps up the tale of the magical mysteries of London. After Hyacinth’s last adventure finding out about London’s magical secret rivers and the adventure she went on to save her family, this time things get even more complicated when she and her Mum are wrongfully arrested as someone tries to steal some of the most ancient stones around London.
I already fell in love with this series when I read the first book, reading about the strange things that occur in London and possible magical causes behind it really made me enjoy the book, but I enjoyed this book even more as the story progresses and we find out more about Hyacinth’s family and about Little Ben. Written in the first person like the last book, it was easy to get into the story right away although with the way the book is written, Hyacinth once again sounds a little older than she is supposed be (though with a ditsy and forgetful mother I can understand why). This time the story focuses on bigger parts of London with more dramatic things happening. But like last time it’s full of humour and I found myself laughing aloud even more than with the last book.
The story is of course a fantasy one but set in modern day London and with constant references to parts of London, and strange occurances in London that really do exist, it makes the story so believable and as someone who lives in London I find it fascinating how many strange and weird (and possibly magical) things there are in this city. The story has a lot of humour like last time although I found myself laughing a lot more with this book. Hyacinth’s mother is a bit ditsy again but it seems it might be part of the plot to be revealed in the last book, and she’s not as silly or useless as she first appears. The story is also hilarious when it comes to what happens with the stones, I especially enjoyed Hungerford’s attempt at being inconspicuous and the conversation that a certain caryatid had!
The ending is a satisfying one, in fact even more so than in the last book as it makes you want to read the final book in the series. The adventure is so much more dramatic in this book too, with large scale events happening in London, rather than undercover ones and Hyacinth finally discovers something about herself. This book could be read as a stand alone novel but I’d definitely recommend reading the first in the series as well as this one as you get to know the characters and the mysteries surrounding them better.
Every chapter of the book has a small illustration at the start which is a nice touch and you soon discover it is relevant to the chapter you are reading. A lot of these images repeat but you’ll see Little Ben, Minnie and Oaroboarus as well as other images. I also enjoyed the cards which Oaroboarus uses again to speak which are illustrated rather than just written in the text. There aren’t too many illustrations but I do think they make the story more fun to read. At the end of the book there are photographs of certain real life parts of London which appear in the story. These come with interesting descriptions of what they are really like, some of them are very bizarre, and I love that there is information on where you can see some of these including the lion!
I can’t wait for the last part of the trilogy! The story of Hyacinth and the mysteries surrounding London are just so interesting and exciting to read. I love the fact the author has taken so many strange things he’s noticed about London and set them into a brilliant story. I’d definitely recommend not only this book but the whole series to anyone to read, especially if like me, you live or have visited London. You’ll never see the city the same way again!
Read review of book 1 – The City of Secret Rivers by clicking here.
Do you like this book, have you read the first in the series? Have you visited London? Do you ever think of the mysteries of the city you live in? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂