***This is book two of The Missing series. If you haven’t read book one, Found, check out that review first, read that book, and then meet me back here.***
I don’t always review more than one book in a series, but in this case, the sequel was as good as the original. At the end of book one, Jonah, Katherine and Chip find themselves whirling through time. In book two, they emerge in the year 1483. Because Chip isn’t just their 21st century neighbor, he’s Edward V, King of England, and he’s about to become worm food. To prevent “the ripple” from affecting all of time, it’s crucial that Chip return to the years he was stolen from so events will play out according to history. But how can they let that happen and still rescue Chip?
This book got into even more mind-boggling time travel elements than the first one. When they land, the trio use their Elucidator to turn themselves invisible, so their hair and clothing don’t draw unwanted unwanted attention. They struggle with the Old English language, though Haddix does a good job creating this problem without actually using too many of the kid-baffling words. Time travel sickness becomes a problem, too, for Jonah and Katherine, who are out of their original century. After all, the atoms which make up their bodies are actually in use elsewhere during this time period, so they’re made of duplicate substances. And the kids must also watch out for other time travelers. For instance, the Battle of Boswell was such a mysterious event that it has attracted many witnesses from future ages. Bizarre!
Here in the Past, the kids also run into tracers, glowing, phantom-like images visible only to the kids, that show them exactly what happened in history. When Chip merges with his tracer, he becomes visible to those in that world as Edward, and he gains that boy’s memories, religious beliefs and thoughts while still able to maintain his own memories. He can leave his tracer anytime he wants, but the longer he stays in it, the more he forgets the 21st century. Tracers, both Chip’s and others, glow anytime events deviate from history, so the kids can gauge the effects of their actions.
Again, Haddix keeps her book very clean, with no profanity. She’s dealing with an unsavory royal family at a brutal time in history, so the children do watch the tracers of Edward and his brother being tossed out the window in an attempted murder. The book also very appropriately discusses the “married” or “not married” issue of Edward’s parents and how it affects his claim to the throne. And it touches on the religion vs. science difference between the ages without flatly slamming religion.
I also really like the humorous way Chip is affected by his time travel experiences, how he takes away a knowledge of Latin and a talent for sword fighting. “You get what you get,” an experienced time traveler tells him. “Time changes you. Time traveler or no, you always have to build on what you live through.” Good advice for the rest of us too.
In conclusion, I highly recommend Sent. It’s a fabulous, entertaining, thought-provoking adventure, one of the best I’ve read this year, and entirely appropriate for readers 8-13.