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This is my very favorite MG series right now, and MIRAGE Book 2 is even better than Book 1 which is saying a LOT The emotional stakes are raised, things are getting harder and harder for co heroes Aluna and Hoku for one thing, Aluna is trapped in a desert as she grows her Kampii mermaid tail , and oh, is the world building amazing There is such an incredible sense of wonder to this book, and especially by the end, there s such a feeling of real, mythic grandeur This is adventure on a genuinely epic scale.I love the way Aluna and Hoku are growing into their very different powers, I love how real the different cultures feel, and I love the way some of Aluna s and Hoku s assumptions from Book 1 are seriously challenged in this book These books are in no way didactic they re just fabulous, thrilling stories about really wonderful characters but they carry such a powerful message when it comes to diversity I love, love, love this series and this book in particular. (((FREE DOWNLOAD))) ↞ Mirage ⇺ A Thrilling Sequel From An Exciting New Voice In Middle Grade Sci Fi Tracks Two Ocean Born Children Braving The Dangers Of The Above WorldThe Desert Is No Place For Ocean Dwelling Kampii Like Aluna And Hoku, Especially Now That Aluna Has Secretly Started Growing Her Tail But The Maniacal Karl Strand Is Out To Conquer The Above World, And The Horselike Equians Are Next On His List Aluna, Hoku, And Their Friends Winged Calli And Equian Exile Dash Race To The Desert City Of Mirage, Intent On Warning The Equians When They Arrive, Strand S Clone, Scorch, Has Gotten There First Now The Equian Leader Has Vowed To Take All His People To War As Part Of Strand S Army Any Herd That Refuses To Join Him By The Time Of The Desert Wide Competition Known As The Thunder Trials Will Be Destroyed To Have Any Chance Of Defeating Scorch And Convincing The Equians To Switch Sides, The Four Friends Must Find A Way To Win The Trials The Challenge Seems Impossible But If They Fail, The Desert And Possibly All Of The Above World Will Be Lost To Karl Strand Forever Here Is The Action Packed Follow Up To Above World, Which Kirkus Reviews Called A Thrilling Sci Fi Adventure Imaginative And Riveting After the Harry Potter series, I wondered who could build another world with such detail and then there was The Hunger Games Each time I thought, How could anyone create a world as believable, expansive or as unique Last year, I read another original world building novel, Above World and I again, believed that this could be the new series to love Now after reading Mirage, my hope has been satisfied that another series has picked up the gauntlet What I love about Mirage is Reese s use of science fiction tech and imaginative fantastical creatures and then braids them into a tight strong rope I was lassoed away into the deserts of the Equians and their deep traditions as it clashes against the realities of war with Carl Strand and his clones The unlikely heroes, Aluna, Dash, Calli and Hoku unite with new friends Tayan, Tal and Nathif, despite their differences in beliefs and traditions, embrace their differences as strengths and travel the higher road I can t say enough about the themes of family, sacrifice and honor that resonate from the pages See complete review at www.soimfifty.blogspot.com Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.Sequels are scary things This is why I approached reading Mirage by Jenn Reese with equal parts excitement and trepidation I LOVED Above World my thoughts so much I wanted to love this one I needed to love it because I haven t loved many books yet this year It fulfilled all of that yearning plus some.Aluna, Hoku, Dash, and Calli they all have pieces of my heart These are some truly wonderful characters and Reese took them and grew them in this second volume Aluna learned so much from her first journey and it is wonderful to see her apply those lessons in this book She proceeds with caution and listens carefully She still makes some mistakes, but I love that her character has not stagnated and is moving with the story We learn about Dash and his past in this book and what I discovered only made me love him His nobility, honor, and loyalty are great attributes and his charming ways only add to that It was interesting to watch Calli still torn between what she knows she must become and what she wants to do She s so caring and diplomatic, and yet there are times when I m not as sure of her as I am of the others Not unsure of her loyalty, but what she ll choose to do with it It keeps her from being too perfect And Hoku GAH His quiet heroism in this book catapulted him past Dash as my favorite I think I love how he refuses to back down from his ideals and tries to figure out ways to make them work in the world he lives in It also has me very afraid for his continued safety I always say I love it when authors aren t afraid to hurt even their main characters and Reese certainly isn t It doesn t stop me from not wanting her to The friendship these four share is my favorite element of this trilogy They met and began it in the first book This book sees it challenged and grow in amazing ways It is clear too that they are all learning from each other and becoming better people because of each other There are scenes that actually had me tearing up and that is not an easy thing to make me do One particular scene between Dash and Aluna had me actually shed a tear I love how Reese uses their friendship and interactions to reveal of their characters too.In addition to our four intrepid heroes there are a host of new and amazing characters added here I loved Tal, Rollin, and Nathif especially.The world building continues to be impressive In this volume the setting switches to the desert Here two different types of people dwell Dash s Equians and the Serpenti half snake people and let me say that whole concept is just awesome by itself The history of these groups is fraught and rich with detail and these were wonderfully incorporated into the fast moving plot While Karl Strand and his evil plans shadow this book, the story here is less about confronting a nemesis than it is about learning to grow and change The story focuses on the desert peoples and the workings of their traditions and politics There is again a lot of food for thought here on honoring tradition and history while not clinging to it to your own detriment This fits well with the themes of hope, unity, and strength in community that continue into this story from the first The way Reese is able to do all of this in a plot that never once drags or even slows down is impressive I also appreciate how she knows how to end a book Yes, there is and they are not done with their struggles, but this book ends with a sense of completion I still really want the next volume while at the same time don t have cliffhanger rage Mirage gave me an adrenaline rush and book hangover like I haven t had in quite some time I love books that can do that to me and am eagerly awaiting the third and final installment of the trilogy.I received this most joyfully and gratefully from Candlewick via NetGalley Mirage is available for purchase today, March 12 I have an 8 year old eagerly awaiting our copy s arrival She is quite annoyed I already got to read it. Check out reviews at as an ARCThis is an exciting second novel in this series, that continues to weave a fresh dystopian story Aluna and her friends are back, still trying to save the world from Karl Strand and his clones I admired Aluna s strength in this novel, despite hiding the fact that she is growing a tail from her friends Dash is still as intriguing as ever, and we get to learn so much about his past and exactly what happened to cause his exile I saw a surprising amount of determination from Hoku, while he isn t a fighter, his intelligence and willingness to learn makes him a valuable asset to his friends There are quite a few surprises along the way, some unexpected friends, and not so unexpected enemies Finally, we get to experience the world of the Equians, which is quite different from what you may expect I really enjoyed the detail of the world building and the adventure of learning about two of the different Above World species This novel is packed with action, adventure, and a little romance, which make it an absolutely exciting read I definitely recommend this book if you like exciting dystopian fiction but make sure to read Above World first. I felt this was a book I should have loved with wholehearted abandon, and yet that s not how I felt about it, most of the way through Everything is good, and the slow and sometimes painful growth of family in characters from widely differing backgrounds is excellent It might have been the writing, which felt a little heavy at times, especially the use of the Equian or whatever, in place of a character s name It s such a minor quibble, but is one of those stylistic things that can become quite irritating Possibly it was the dragging out of Aluna s I ve started to grow my tail Oh, I must hide it from my loyal friends dilemma mistake, which grated a little eventually I can t think of anything else that is really different from the first book, which I did love There s no question at all about reading the third book, however, as the final sections pulled together beautifully, and provided the emotional wallop I d been missing before. Jenn Reese introduced several different cultures in her postapocalyptic settting for Above World With the sequel, she is able to slow the pace a bit to concentrate with the exception of a couple of chapters on just one the centaur like Equians By deepening, rather than broadening the world, Reese really strengthens the bonds and interactions between the characters as she draws the reader into the internal struggles of the Equian people.The story also gets a nasty new villain the level of opposition for the heroes in this book has been, well, upgraded , and some great additions to the cast.And, as expected, Reese delivers on the action, which is pretty much non stop as the book reaches its climactic chapter and Aluna gets a pretty epic final fight The martial arts action is beautifully written and the intensity never lets up.This was focused than Above World without losing the charm of the characters, and I m looking forward to the third book in the series. Aluna now knows the dangerous nature of Karl Strand He and his clones are not only ready to sacrifice the Kampii, but also the others of the world Aviars, Equian, and even others she has yet to meet As she and her best friends, Hoku, Calli and Dash, rush to unite those unaware of impending dangers, other life issues rear their heads Quickly the youths learn about friendship, young love, honor, integrity and the meaning of family.Jenn, my friend, you have outdone yourself This second in the series is a masterful work The writing is solid, fluid, gripping and invokes vivid imagery While this novel is aimed at a middle grade audience, its appeal is much broader The action and conflict feels real and inspires the reader to consider the themes in terms of their own reality.I cannot praise this second offering in the series and cannot express my anticipation for the next. Better than Above World, and the story was definitely intense. Language G 0 swears, 0 f Mature Content PG Violence PG13During their encounter with Fathom, Aluna and her friends learned that his sibling Scorch is planning to claim the Equians, as Fathom tried to do to the Kampii Rushing to the desert to warn Dash s people, Aluna and her friends find that they are too late Scorch is close to achieving her goal Dash broke his exile for nothing, and now they may all pay the price.This book cannot be read without its prequel, Above World, and Mirage is just as good, if not better The extension of their story is engaging as Aluna s quest continues far from home, and the character development helps prevent the obstacles to success from becoming repetitive Adventure awaits those who stick with Aluna, and the final installment is begging for me to stay immersed in this world.Reviewed for