Twilight Prisoner by Katherine Marsh

Even though I picked up – and read – The Night Tourist from the remainders/bargain bin at Borders back in July, I just now got around to reading the sequel The Twilight Prisoner:

After traveling to New York City’s ghostly underworld, Jack PerTwilight Prisonerdu has made it back aboveground, to join the living. But if he’s alive, why is he still seeing ghosts?

Jack tries hard to fit in at his new school-and tries even harder to win the affections of his Latin classmate and friend, Cora. In an effort to impress her, Jack leads Cora to the entrance of the underworld and makes a terrible mistake. Soon they have crossed the threshold—and this time, there may be no getting back.

Like The Night Tourist, this exciting sequel blends together the modern-day world and mythology-this time cleverly introducing readers to myth of Persephone and Eros.

I have a bit of a mixed reaction to this follow-up.

While it has all of the same ingredients as the last (mix of adventure, characters, mythology, and history) it just didn’t quite strike me the same way.  It might be because this book deal more with adolescent concerns: Jack likes Cora but Cora likes Austin, etc. Or it could be the more serious tone.

Marsh continues to use the series to lovingly describe New York City and to explore its history (this time Central Park).  And the characters are further developed (Euri’s past and Cora’s home life) and Jack comes to grips with his feelings toward both Cora and Euri.

The story is a little slower and the focus is more on the emotions involved in relationships.  The threat to Jack and Cora seemed less real to me.  I never really believed Cora was going to come to harm in the underworld. And the connections between finding a secret passage out of the underworld seemed a little forced at times.  Some plot twists at the end, however, were well done and add to the action and suspense.

But it could be these are just the limits of young adult fiction, because otherwise the story is really well done.  It is an intelligent and creative blend of adventure, mythology, and fantasy that addresses some real issues that young people face.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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