cover image The Thickety: The Whispering Trees

The Thickety: The Whispering Trees

J.A. White, illus. by Andrea Offermann. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (528p) ISBN 978-0-06-225729-1

Given the literal wild ride that ends The Thickety: A Path Begins, with nascent witch Kara Westfall and her brother escaping into the eponymous forest, it’s tempting to plunge into this sequel at full speed. But fans of the previous book will be rewarded by taking the time to savor the uncanny and blighted realm Kara and Taff must now cross, pursued by the demonic Sordyr and aided by legendary witch Mary Kettle. Among the perils they face are the Draye’varg (a plain of stone that creates murderous simulacra from those that cross it); darkeaters, which kill by consuming shadows; and Imogen, a tentacled creature that feeds on the emotions of false memories. Their one chance of defeating Sordyr may lie in allying themselves with the adversary who bound him to the Thickety in the first place. With a plot that coils like a tangle of brambles and an ending that, while more predicable, is no less twisty than that of its predecessor, this sequel will keep readers invested in Kara and Taff’s adventures in this dangerous and imaginative world. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Alexandra Machinist, Janklow & Nesbit. (Mar.)