4 out of 4 stars
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After a trip back in time to escape a death by drowning, Theo is stuck in Germany in 1937. He expects his scientist father to get the time machine back up and running to rescue him; in the meantime, though, he must work to escape the Nazi government and keep a precious journal out of the hands of a madman bent on helping Nazi Germany win World War II.
The plan is for him and Gracie to escape with the journal to the United States. Before their flight by dirigible leaves, though, Gracie is determined to rescue her friend Herr Moeller, who has gone missing after saving the two teenagers. Will she be the next one to go missing? Or will Theo and Gracie make their flight and escape safely to America?
Vigilatus is book two in the TimeWorm series and is written by Brenda Heller and Jimmy Adams. The novel has around 350 pages. There is violence as well as dark themes that would make the book inappropriate for those younger than high school age. Nonetheless, this is a historical fiction novel, so it is nothing that didn't actually happen.
I had the joy of reviewing the first book in this series, TimeWorm. Though I enjoyed that book, it moved a bit slowly and lacked some character development. This sequel made up for the deficiencies of the first. There was an abundance of action to keep even the most wandering minds engaged, and the characters really blossomed. Theo is a typical teenager who doesn't quite understand the minds of women. Gracie confuses him, and his reaction to her is extremely realistic for a younger boy. Gracie has spirit and makes for a great female protagonist. Being courageous, her fear never stood in the way of anything, and I admired her for that.
Though this is the second book, the authors do a great job of getting the reader caught up to what's already happened. There is a scene toward the beginning of the book where Theo reminisces about all that's occurred so far. This would be helpful for those that have not read the first book, making this stand alone if necessary. More than that, it's a good reminder if time has elapsed between the reading of the first and second books.
Furthermore, Ms. Heller and Mr. Adams use the German language and dialect to immerse you into Nazi Germany. Yet, never are these words given without clueing in the reader as to their meaning. In addition, they include real events, people, and places from this time period, so you are learning as you are being entertained. They have found the perfect balance between moving the plot along and introducing historical snippets.
All in all, I found absolutely nothing about which to complain. Therefore, I rate Vigilatus 4 out of 4 stars. I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys an action-packed historical fiction with elements of time travel and technology. It would be especially interesting to those that enjoy reading about Nazi Germany. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment of this series.
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