(2006) Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough hdbk, 237pp, £17.99, ISBN 978-0-593-0-5613-4
The second book of this series following Changelings and starts at a much quicker pace since presumably the readers are already familiar with the characters. Ronan and Murel are back and straight into their next adventure with Ke-ola and Marmie to fly to the planet Halau on which the Ke-olas family now reside and offer them the chance to re-settle with their totem animals (Honus), on their home planet of Petaybee. However nothing goes as planned when a meteor storm destroys vast areas of Halau and an emergency rescue is needed. Meanwhile the introduction of Colonel Cally provides a new enemy and brings a new set of problems for the twins.
In the meantime, back on the planet of Petaybee, the world is evolving rapidly to provide a new home for Ke-olas family and their turtle Honus, however the other survivors from Halau also bring their Honus, not loveable turtles, but vicious sharks who are hungry and not really bothered who or what they eat.
The otters that featured in Changelings also return and once again provide assistance to the twins. They are without a doubt the most appealing creatures featured in the series. Sky is the twins' favourite otter and he seems to have a level of intelligence that is almost human apart from his inability to count.
As before McCaffrey's and Scarborough's descriptions of the surrounding and animals are enchanting. Where as Changelings was slow to start and featured very little action in the first half of the book, Maelstrom by comparison leaps straight in, although it is a slightly shorter book. The plot is quicker moving and although the main characters remain the same, the swift introduction of new characters means the story provides twist and turns that are hard to predict. Although there is danger and excitement, the writers manage to convey this without resorting to excessive violence and inappropriate sexual undertones. Now the twins are reaching puberty and this is covered, and it is done so in a manner that does not leave the reader cringing as so many books are likely to do.
Once again I will state that these books are well written, enjoyable and suitable for a younger reader if so inclined, while still being enjoyable for an adult to read. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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