I’m excited to be in on the release of Elise Stokes’ second novel, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift. This fast-paced series is reminiscent of the adventures of comic book superheroes, except Cassidy Jones happens to be a totally hip, totally stubborn, totally modern fifteen-year-old girl. A freak accident left her with enhanced senses and superhuman strength that she struggles mightily to adjust to. She may be saving the Seattle suburbs by night, but by day she must try to fit into Queen Anne High School, navigate those tricky guy-girl relationships, and make sure none of her friends figure out her secret. Such a rumor whispered to the wrong individual would put her loved ones at serious risk.
In Vulcan’s Gift, a top-secret weapon leftover from Nazi German, long considered a myth, surfaces on Catamount Mountain. It’s up to Cassidy and her brilliant sidekick, Emery, to figure out and muscle down this new threat. Throw in a missing Siberian tiger, multiple Sasquatch sightings (not to mention the gaggle of faithful Sasquatch followers), family wealth, and a shiny new villain, and you have the recipe for a teen-pleasing page-turner.
Let’s backtrack to Emery for a moment. Son of the scientist connected to Cassidy’s enhancement, Emery has some impressive credentials of his own. At age fifteen, he’s already earned a college degree and put off graduate school to guard and guide Cassidy. Unrealistic? Of course! As you recall, we’re talking comic book superheroes here. Anyway, Emery is light years ahead of the pack in maturity and intellect, and his perfection can get downright obnoxious. Yet, there’s a warmth and genuine affection to his character that makes me hope Cassidy will finally be done with her high school crush, Jared, once and for all. Aside from Cassidy and her wonderful physical dilemma, Emery is by far the most complex character of the series.
There are many things I appreciate about Vulcan’s Gift, not the least of which is Ms. Stokes’ polished writing style. While it isn’t poetic or abundant in creative word pictures (which I have a real penchant for) it IS solid, smooth, and so easy to read–perfect for a high-flying adventure. I also applaud Ms. Stokes for leaving out the language and content so many of us find objectionable in children’s literature. I didn’t miss it! Her imagination for thinking up a superb plot is better than most and packaged air-tight, and colorful, bigger-than-life characters are becoming her trademark. No, this series isn’t particularly deep or beautiful, or even witty, but it sure is fun to read!
Once again, the end of the book leaves lots of wiggle room for a new adventure. Questions from the first book remain, and now we’ve left a psychotic new villain on the loose, last seen laughing maniacally. I’ll be eagerly awaiting book three, Elise!