The Suburb Beyond the Stars is the second book in the Norumbegan Quartet by M. T. Anderson, the first of which I reviewed on Friday - The Game of Sunken Places. You can read my review of the first book here. And I encourage you to avoid the synopsis and review of The Suburb Beyond the Stars until you have read the first book - spoilers are inevitable, otherwise!
Okay, so assuming that those of you that haven't read The Game of Sunken Places have stopped reading if you have no interest in spoiling yourself...
Brian and Gregory are back at home in Vermont and hard at work in designing the next intergalactic game to finally decide who wins the war between the Thusser Horde and the Norumbegan Empire. They're having a blast, until odd things start to happen.
Like a mysterious man following Brian, quite persistently, after his cello practice. Like an attempted murder. Like Gregory's cousin Prudence disappearing.
So, the two decide to go back to where they previously played The Game of Sunken Places and find Prudence. Everything seems tied to that. But what they find is a new suburb that has sprouted up around her formerly solitary house. Yet that is still not the strangest thing going on - all the clocks show a different time, the children ride around in dazed circles chanting odd and disquieting rhymes, and the parents calmly announce that no one should be out on the streets after curfew because Gelt the Winnower will be about.
Every day another person seems to disappear, and Brian and Gregory are nowhere nearer to finding Prudence.
And this all points to something bigger and far more dangerous - a battle that is spreading from a game board to innocent bystanders...
Anyone who read The Game of Sunken Places and was a big fan of it like I was will be absolutely thrilled with The Suburb Beyond the Stars. It takes the scare-factor of the first book and increases it about tenfold, setting a far more creepy and dangerous tone in the very first chapter. I was instantly WOWed!
But don't think the pumping up of the frightening aspect of the novel takes away from the utterly perfect whimsical quality Anderson brings. Nope, still there in spades! I love the feeling of camaraderie and honest friendship of Brian and Gregory, the two of which are so enchantingly written I am besotted with their dazzlingly colorful and still somehow relatable personalities. The Suburb Beyond the Stars brings us the first real strain on the closeness between them, and I won't give away why...
The Suburb Beyond the Stars is even more jolting and surprising than the first book - which is awesome! The mystery and intrigue are even more gripping than before, even more disturbing, even more brilliant - I was (and am) totally into it! The characters are provided with even more depth and believability while we are presented with an even more entertaining, please-just-one-more-page-till-I-put-it-down read!!!
With The Suburb Beyond the Stars being this phenomenally refreshing and original in the intelligently written sci-fi elements, classic adventure tone, and overall fun way it is - how amazing is book three (The Empire of Gut and Bone, coming soon!) going to be?
This is an honest-to-goodness cool, clever, creepy, incredible book that is great for all ages - young and old!!!