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Time Castaways 2:

The Obsidian Compass, by Liesl Shurtliff

· MG Books
Time Castaways 2: The Obsidian Compass, by Liesl Shurtliff

I've had my eye out for The Obsidian Compass ever since reading the first book, The Mona Lisa Key, which left me with about a zillion questions.

Now, time travel makes my head hurt. Even when it's handled simply, back and then to present, it's tricky -- to read and write. But I felt this sequel was even better than the first.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't read the first book, I'm going to leave off where it spoilers for Book 1.

At the end of the last book, Mateo lost the Obsidian Compass to Captain Vincent and had to leave Jia on the Vermillion. Mateo's certain the Captain's going to maroon her in time. But not having the Compass also means Mateo, Ruby and Cory can't go anywhere in time to rescue Jia, so they're stuck -- as well as sitting ducks, if the Captain tries to kidnap them again in 2019. At least they have his father's map, the one that tracks the Vermillion through time and space.

When they see the Vermillion go to prehistoric times, somewhere in the Arctic circle, Mateo is convinced Jia is marooned there. He retreats to the basement and starts to tinker ... and builds another Compass. (This is where my head starts to hurt, because it's not really another Compass, it's THE Compass, and ...just read.)

Mateo gets peanut butter on the Compass at a family celebration, and he pops through time and when he comes back, he realizes what he's done / built. On another jump to the Vermillion, he meets Annie Oakley, when she was on the ship while his mother was still Captain Belamie Bonnaire, and convinces Annie to help him get the Compass.

Step in Chuck, the wacky rust-orange VW bus owner and sort-of neighbor (he lives in the bus), and somehow when Mateo activates the Compass inside the bus, it takes the whole shabang -- and anyone in it -- along for the ride. (Time travel induced head hurting again -- the bus is ...well, can you figure it out?)

The whole bunch -- including Mateo's mom and dad -- jump a really, really long time backward. like to the Ice Age, to rescue Jia, only to discover...another former crewmember, Tui, who was marooned after Captain Bonnaire left the Vermillion to marry Mateo's dad and have kids.

And here I'm going to stop, because we're at a moment when I would give too much away, and you really should read it and enjoy it! It's a great 420-page ride through a truly twisted plot that skillfully weaves back and forth.

I'm super-duper excited to read the next one!

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