Published by: Firefly Press, 7th July 2022
It feels like a long time ago since I read The Ten Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith - the brilliant debut novel by Loris Owen, released in September 2020. But my eager wait for the second in the series has been well worth it. Packed full of adventure, mysteries and world-jumping, Kip and his crew find themselves embroiled in a dangerous quest.
With the recently discovered 'Ark of Ideas' remaining unfathomable, Kip, Albert, Timmi and Leela are baffled as to how they can continue Eartha' Quicksmith's mission. But when their 'Dreambomber' invention leads to a discovery, Kip and Timmi find themselves plunged into a myriad of different worlds. Trying to find their way home, they stumble upon the next pieces of the puzzle. But can they elude the Myriad Pirates long enough to fulfil their quest and will they ever be reunited with Albert and Leela?
This is one action-packed, amazingly plotted novel. Loris Owen's imagination and in-depth creation is extraordinary, bringing together riddles, puzzles and mystery with fairly complex science and technology. After the set-up in the first novel, here we are thrown immediately into the action - be prepared to keep up!
Whereas Book One reminded me very much of the first Harry Potter story where the three children solve puzzles to find the philosopher's stone, this novel has more of a Strangeworlds Travel Agency aspect to it, although it remains a very different story. There is slightly less emphasis on the riddles and more on the Myriad worlds and the children's own inventions. The world-building is exquisite, as is the attention to detail, and you immediately know that there is a very big picture to this quest, with far more exciting stuff still to come.
Kip remains an amiable main character who has a deep fragility, really making him a protagonist to root for. In this novel, there is far less emphasis on his family's personal circumstances, which very much drove the internal arc of book one. However, the final dream scene is truly touching and brings back Kip's heartbreak with full force. I love the power of teamwork between the four children and their professors and how everyone plays a valuable part in the mission. In fact, the characters and plot keep us so capitavated that there is only a slight touch of villainy, which grows stronger at the end.
Science and technology were my two weakest subjects at school, occasionally leading me to be put off by complicated and technical plots involving the theory of time travel, dreams and world matter. However, Loris Owen has made the world of Eartha Quicksmith so engaging, lively and imaginative that these threads of the novel literally jump of the page, infecting the reader with their crackling energy (or should I say 'strange energy'). It's magical in a different way to other comparison novels and it's definitely a series I want to reread in order to get the most out of it. Highly original and memorable, this is definitely something special.
A big thanks to Netgalley and Firefly Press for allowing me a review copy. The Myriad Mysteries of Eartha Quicksmith is out now.