The Drew children are back but this time they seem to be mere pawns, shuffled around on a chessboard, rather than creatures more actively involved. They are manipulated and played upon by forces so frightening and bewildering, you almost don’t expect them to survive.
Will Stanton is back as well and his odd behavior that makes him seem older and wiser beyond his years is so pronounced you wonder why his family hasn’t noticed. Apparently, that explains why the author has removed him from his familiar milieu and brought him to the aid of the Drew children. While Simon and Barney predictably don’t like his presence in what they consider to be their adventure, Jane notices that there’s more to him than meets the eye.
You almost wonder why Merriman and Will don’t let the children in on the secret of their alliance; it’s odd to see people kept out of the loop in magical tales like this. In most magical tales, everybody on a quest is made to know the significance of its supposed Chosen Ones. But secrecy about the Old Ones is paramount to their survival. You can pity the Drew children for their deliberate ignorance but you can’t fault it.
Jane plays a pivotal role here, if an almost passive one. She’s not quite the adventuress that 21st-century readers have come to expect from their girl heroines; she’s often forced into the role of someone who sits back and waits while the main action goes on elsewhere. But she supplies the steadiness, caution and quiet watchfulness to counterbalance her brothers’s foolishly brash actions and it is her involvement with a female mystery that yields the final clue to an age-old puzzle.
“Greenwitch” thus proves to have a surprisingly feminine component in the midst of its male-driven plotline (much like the previous novel had its quiet but puissant Greythorn lady). It left this reader more than satisfied.
Much, much better than the previous installment, and featuring my favorite characters. I even liked Will in this one :O
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