3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
In this sequel to Sophia Violet and the Fiery Orb, Sophia must go beyond the shocking discovery of her shapeshifter blood and destiny as the Orb Master of Chiralis. Despite her efforts to restore reliable power to the Chiralian Grid, the fluctuations continue to cause disruptions to everyday life, and her new responsibilities only add to the tensions of reconnecting with her estranged Chiralian father and maintaining her regular life on Earth.
Sophia continues to struggle with the secrets that her biological father kept from her, and she's not exactly willing to trust him. However, she may not have a choice as Chiralis falls under the attack of unknown invaders. Meanwhile, Sophia still hasn't found a way to tell her adoptive parents about her shapeshifter genes. With her parents questioning her every move, how will she manage to save the planet while maintaining her double life? As the vicious motives of the reptilian invaders come to light, Sophia will have to embrace every bit of strength and creativity she can muster to restore peace and save her family. But if her parents learn the truth, will they ever look at her the same way again?
Sophia Violet and the Crystal Orb, by Evangeline Greene, is the second book in the Orbs of Power Trilogy. Even as an adult reader, I enjoy the creative adventures in middle grade and young adult fiction, so I was eager to jump into this series. The Crystal Orb picks up where TheFiery Orb left off. While there is quite a bit of character development, adventurous peril, and shapeshifting fun that you'll miss if you start with book two, the author does a great job of giving quick recaps in the first portion of this book. These reminders blend smoothly with the continuation of the Sophia Violet saga, making it possible to jump into the series with the second book. Still, I think you'll miss out on connecting with Sophia as she discovers her identity and accepts her role in book one.
I loved that this series focuses on the importance of family values and supportive friends. I appreciated that Sophia often has to rely on her friends and their abilities to help her as she takes steps to grow. I also found it refreshing that Sophia had opportunities to work with her extended family in different ways that forced her to realize that they were hurting too. With all the events happening in the book, there wasn't much time for extensive development and healing. Regardless, the author did a great job of expressing the emotions that the characters were feeling, which brought them to a place of satisfying resolution in the end.
Another positive addition of the book was exploring the Chiralian Badlands, the frozen wasteland briefly mentioned in book one. It was suspenseful to watch Sophia find ways to survive and strategize while traversing the hazardous Badlands to stop the invaders' plans. I also loved that there were so many new secrets that revealed the complexity of the plot. The author answered questions remaining from book one, and I loved the exciting new developments that leave the reader surprised and eager to continue with the final book in the series. A few moments in the Badlands made it more difficult to suspend my disbelief, but overall, I enjoyed how the events played out in this fantasy novel. My least favorite thing was the number of errors in the book, which reduced my rating to three out of four.
This author does a fantastic job telling an engaging story, so I look forward to seeing how she concludes Sophia's journey. For parents looking for a clean fantasy adventure series for their upper middle grade to high school readers, please note that this series does not contain swearing or sexual content of any kind. There is some violence and peril, but the story focuses more on Sophia's growth as a young woman stepping into her responsibilities, using her gifts to help others, and facing the challenges that life often presents at inconvenient times.
*This book has since been edited further, and the errors have now been corrected*
Sophia Violet and the Crystal Orb
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon