Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Horizon Audio

Horizon Audio

Jenn Reese
For ages 12 and up
Performed/read by: Kate Rudd
Brilliance Audio, 2014   ISBN: 978-1480595507

Not that long ago Aluna was living with her family in the City of Shifting Tides, deep in the ocean. She knew nothing about Above World then, and never imaged that she would end up spending many months walking and running on the ground. However, this is exactly what has happened. When the breathing necklaces that her aquatic people use to breathe began to fail, Aluna left her home and her family to find out why this was happening. She soon learned that a cloned human called Karl Strand was out to destroy all the half human races, including her own people, the Coral Kampii.

   After befriending both the Equian and Serpenti peoples, reconciling them, and encouraging them to join her to fight against Karl Strand and his clones, Aluna and her friends Dash, Calli, and Hoku are now facing the biggest challenge in their young lives. They have to find out where Karl Strand is hiding and get rid of him, and his clones Scorch and Fathom, for good. They have to do this before the war that Karl Strand is hungry for wipes out all the half human races.

   Aluna decides that the best way to get close to Karl Strand is to ‘encourage’ a band of Upgraders to take her and Calli to him. Hoku and Dash will pose as Upgraders who are taking the girls (as prisoners) to the man. They will attempt to join an Upgrader group and the hope is that the Upgraders will be thrilled to claim whatever reward Karl Strand will give them for delivering two of his enemies to him.

   At first all goes well. Hoku and Dash manage to fool the members of an Upgrader kludge into taking them all in. The Upgraders are delighted to participate in the handing over of such important ‘prisoners.’ As the days pass, Dash comes to appreciate that the Upgraders are not all that keen on joining Karl Strand’s Upgrader army. All they want is to live in peace, and they are not convinced that killing the Aviars, Equians, Serpenti, Kampii and other races is the best way to achieve this. They are a tight-knit group who have honor and who protect each other.

   Quite expectantly and inconveniently, Calli, Aluna, and Hoku are rescued by a race of tree-dwelling people. Dash, and Aluna’s horse friend Vachir, are left behind. Being seperated in this way distresses everyone but there is nothing they can do about it. Dash ends up telling the Upgraders who he really is, and instead of killing him for his betrayal, they agree to help him get to Karl Stand.

   Aluna and Hoku decide to return to their ocean home to do what they can to rally the Kampii and the half shark Deepfell people to their cause. Calli flies back to her mountain home to see how her Aviar people are faring in their war against the Upgraders.

   Though the friends feel lost without each other, they all set about doing what they do best to stop Karl Strand before it is too late. They know that their chances of succeeding are slim, but the young people fight on, hoping that one day they will be reunited in a world where all the races will be able to live together in peace.

   This extraordinary final chapter in the Above World series brings Jenn Reese’s remarkable tale to a stunning, sometimes painful, close. We can never be sure what is going to happen next, and it is amazing to see how the main characters grow and evolve as the story unfolds. They make sacrifices, trust in their friends, and risk everything to do what they know is right.