The Wyrm King (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles) by Holly Block and Tony DiTerlizzi

This has turned into YA fiction week here at CM.  So we might as well keep things going with another illustrated chapter book.  The Wyrm King is the final book in the Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles which appropriately enough followed The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Here is a video trailer to pique your interest:

For those of you more literal and less visual here is the blurb:

In the final installment of Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, Nick and Laurie had thought they solved their giant problems when they drove all the giants into the sea. But now, the Grace kids have come back to tell them they may have more trouble coming their way!

It turns out the giants control the population of Hydra, a dragon like creature that is creating sinkholes all over Florida. But with the mermaids refusing to return the giants to the shore, the nixie’s still missing and the threat of a destroyed Florida drawing closer, the kids have to take matters in their own hands.

Will Nick and Laurie be able to stop the destruction they unwittingly caused? Can a new giant hunter help save the day? Can Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide help them out of this or are they on their own?

My quick take: for the intended audience (ages 9-12) this final installment is an action packed conclusion to a fun series.  For me, however, the series had run its course and I no longer looked forward to each new book with such anticipation.  So while The Wyrm King was well done it lacked some of the magic of the earlier series.

A bit more below.

The book continues to explore the challenges of mixed families that result from remarriage just as the original series dealt with a family in the aftermath of divorce/separation.  Nick and Laurie have to work out there relationship as their parents decide to separate the two families in the aftermath of the crazy events detailed in the previous book.  Living in a small hotel room, and having their kids mixed up in hard to believe adventures, is just too much stress it seems.

And to a certain extent there is a “coming of age” aspect to this last book.  Nick has to decided where his loyalties lie and whether or not he is going to do what he thinks is right no matter how hard or dangerous.  In all the danger and chaos Nick realizes that friends and family are what’s important.

As I noted above, I found the Beyond the Spiderwick books an interesting spin off of the original series.  But I am glad this is the last book.  I think the series lost a bit of its energy; lacked the magic of the first series.  They were interesting reads but not the type of book where you can’t wait until the next volume is published so you can rush to read it.

I realize not every book has that magic, but it is also wise not to stretch an idea to far.  Black and DiTerlizzi were wise to wrap this series up with an action packed conclusion before the quality suffered.

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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