Sunday, December 2, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Devil's Kitchen by Alison DeLuca

Brought to you by First Rule Publicity...

The Devil's Kitchen (The Crown Phoenix #2)
Alison DeLuca

Page Count: 246
Release Date: 3 October 2012
Publisher: Myrddin Publishing Group
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review as part of the The Crown Phoenix Virtual Book Tour

In The Night Watchman Express, Miriam and Simon were kidnapped and thrown on the strange train... Now in Book Two of The Crown Phoenix series, they arrive at the terrifying destination known as Devil's Kitchen.

There they will face human experiments in a laboratory known as The Infirmary.

Miriam will be forced to work in an underground factory.

Simon is held in a luxurious prison by jailers who are as beautiful as they are deadly...

And their courage will be tested to the breaking point.

Review


Check out what I thought about the first book in the series by clicking here!

I was pleasantly surprised by The Devil's Kitchen because I found myself immersed in the same fast-paced plot and entertaining characters from The Night Watchman Express, but with even more nerve and action. Last time, Neil, Miriam, and Simon made discoveries and grew together, but now they've been torn apart and are left to fight their battles alone. It's hard to determine whose predicament is the most dangerous out of the three children, but they all sound pretty dreadful: Neil starts off with those he trusts the most, but the perils enshrouding the throne of Lampala that he is inevitably tangled up in, make it clear he is nowhere near safe; Miriam is thrown into a dungeon and forced to work in a gruesome, but mysterious factory; and Simon is abducted to a place where he is physically pampered, but severely emotionally abused. Each of them use their wits and take advantage of the gift of chance when it comes to them, but in the end, none of them know whether they'll make it back home—if there even is a home to come back to.


Many of the questions and uncertainties raised by Miriam's late father's company, Pearson's Pharmaceuticals, are clarified through the introduction of a heinous, world-bending drug cartel, as well. The three kids somehow get in the middle of this high-risk endeavor, and they must rely only on quick judgment and wise thinking in order to get out. It was interesting to see how the background information tied together cleanly in the second book to explain the obscurities of the first. Overall it's very closely tied to the first book in the series, so I highly suggest you read The Night Watchman Express before this one. 


DeLuca maintains a consistent style—reading this book didn't feel any different from reading her last. It is sometimes unnecessarily descriptive and oftentimes lacks the suspense necessary to follow the plot, but it's direct and fairly well executed. Not too many complaints in this area.


As a children's story, it has a gratifying happy ending, in which the good guys win—of course. Predictable, but not unenjoyable; I was rooting for Simon, Miriam, and Neil and their allies the entire time! But the ending isn't so clean-cut so that there's nothing left to be explained or further followed. In fact, there's a rather large cliffhanger that suggests, even though the journey is over, a new one is soon to begin. 

Pros


More dangerous and exciting than, as well as a smooth continuation of, The Night Watchman Express

Cons


Sort of falsely childish in tone... I'm not sure how many children would act exactly as Miriam would, realistically. 

Verdict


A grittier, more adventurous, and more exciting sequel that is recommended only to those who were left hanging after the first installment in The Crown Phoenix series. The Devil's Kitchen has more action than The Night Watchman Express, yet it still maintains the Edwardian charm and DeLuca's straightforward style found in the first book. Would not make a very good stand-alone novel. 

7 hearts: Not without flaws, but overall enjoyable. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥