Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book Review - Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's The Wyrm King

The Wyrm King: Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles Volume 3 by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: September 8th, 2009
Format: Hardcover, 224 Pages
Rating: ★★
To Buy

After all that's happened the parents have decided that family counseling is the only recourse. At the counselors office the kids are well behaved while the adults sling harmful comments at the others' children and then they decide to separate. This is not what the kids want, but Nick is incapable of stating what it is he wants, seeing as he's not quite sure himself. But with the Grace kids all in Florida, they have more pressing things to worry about, in particular, what is worse than giants? Based on some very sketchy sketches, 500 year ago, during the time of the Conquistadors, something very much like an evil ball of yarn, or perhaps a hydra, rose and had to be destroyed by the giants. After much discussion, and inspection of a newly formed sinkhole in front of Jack's house, wherein Mallory passes out, they come to a working hypothesis. The little wormy dragon like creatures emit methane, hence Mallory passing out, and they become the big scary hydra creature in much the same way rats have a "rat king." The "Wyrm King" is created when all these little snake creatures get their tails entangled and become one fierce creature to be reckoned with by sheer numbers made into a single fighting unit. Also Jack had Taloa hidden in the kiddy pool in the back yard, proving that he is far more useful then the kids in working things out. Nick begs Taloa and her two sisters to help, promising on his life he will get them to fresh water if they help lure the giants back, which is becoming more and more important, the wyrms are growing at a terrifying rate and sinkholes are appearing everywhere. The mermaids are not happy the kids are back, but seeing as they aren't asked for help they just scare Nick by holding him underwater for a bit, but they do give him a fancy hat so he can breath underwater. The kids successfully lure the giants back onto land but then all hell breaks loose. Jules' car is destroyed, Jack's son returns to help, the "Sandspur" is not what people thought he was, Jules is injured, Florida looks more and more like a war zone. But in all the chaos the giants are eating the wyrms and Nick thinks that perhaps there is a giant "Wyrm King" at the epicenter of the sinkholes. Can the kids really save the day? Will they really be heroes? Can Nick ever decide what he wants? Is the Spiderwick Chronicles really at an end?

Finally it's over! Or as over as it will be for awhile, or until the authors desperately need some money (is there any other reason for why there is another Nanny Diaries coming out?) I feel extremely cheated in this final book. Yes it ends well, yes they are all happy, but I feel distinctly unhappy. Can anything those parents said at the counseling session ever be taken back? Can Laurie ever forgive her step-dad for calling her a bad influence and yelling at her? Can Jules ever look at his step-mom the same for creepily insinuating that maybe he had some nefarious designs on her daughter and his own brother? It just left a bad taste in my mouth. Also, as I've said before, I don't like how it became such a "blockbuster" summer Transformers-esque book. Did they already sign a movie deal for this one and that's why it feels like I should be ohhing and ahhing at explosions while eating vast quantities of popcorn? Also there was a real ick, gross out factor with the Wyrm King. Sure it's all scientifically backed up with correlations to rat kings, but ewww. Finally my last gripe is, can't at least one faery be mildly good, did that have to go the way they did with Sandspur? Or did they just really want another ick moment coupled with faeries are no good? In the final analysis, I think I'll just go back an enjoy the first Spiderwick arc, because while this one started out promising, it quickly found a sinkhole.


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