Monday, December 20, 2021

Review: Hangman's Crossing by Will Mabbitt

 


HANGMAN'S CROSSING
Embassy of the Dead, Book 2
by Will Mabbitt
Illustrated by Taryn Knight
Walker Books US
240 pages 
ages 8 to 12









Jake is in a race against time to foil a demon-riddled plot to destroy earth--what a way to start his new job at the Embassy of the Dead! The second book of this spookily funny trilogy.

In return for helping Stiffkey the ghost pass into the Afterworld, Jake Green has been awarded an official position at the Embassy of the Dead, a job he didn't ask for and, to be honest, doesn't necessarily want. But saying no to the Embassy isn't really an option, so now Jake must journey even deeper into the mysterious world of ghosts. What should be a routine Undoing takes a turn when Jake overhears a plot to destroy the very fabric between the worlds of the living and the dead. Can he do the impossible and stop the terror that creeps in the Eternal Void? With the help of his ghostly gang--hockey stick-wielding Cora and Zorro the fox--he's going to try. Hijinks from beyond the grave will tingle readers' spines and tickle their funny bones as the Embassy of the Dead trilogy continues.


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MY TIDBITS

I read this one without diving into the first one, yet, which I wouldn't recommend, since this book takes off where the first one left off. However, it isn't terribly difficult to catch up and enjoy the read alone, either.

Jake wants nothing more to do with the Embassy of the Dead, although Cora and Zorro won't ever let him forget about his dangerous time...and he can't shake his ability to see ghosts, either. When his attempt to ignore their summons, ends him as a full-fledged Un-doer, he's off onto his first, easy mission. But instead of working with just a spirit, he ends up uncovering a plot to bring evil across the world.

Jake and Cora are characters to root for from beginning to end. They balance each other out so well with their very different personalities, which also causes tons of back and forth and fun. But then, many of the characters brighten the pages as each one carries a distinct personality with quirky twists, which make them easy to love, fear or hate. It's intriguing to meet each one and see how Jake comes to odds with the weird additions they make.

This is a quick-paced read, which glides from one predicament into the next. I'd recommend this one more for the younger end of the middle grade audience. The plot is very straight forward, and each problem is pretty much solved before the next comes in...except for the saving the world arc, obviously. Each dangerous situation is ended fairly easily and with care, swinging it more toward this lower end. Plus, the ending happens a bit too neatly for those who love more twist and turn. 

But to say it wasn't a fun ride would be wrong. It's a well done adventure with mystery and friendship and so much fantasy. I read this in one sitting, since it is an easier read, and was into the story the entire way through. It's a grabbing, quick adventure with tons of imagination and just the right amount of tension mixed with a slight bit of ghosts and darkness. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes out for book three, since I am curious what will happen to this courageous duo next.


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