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The Big Shrink by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
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It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
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The Winterhouse Mysteries by Ben Guterson and Chloe Bristol
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The Great Brain Robbery: 01/10/20

The Great Brain Robbery

The Great Brain Robbery by P.G. Bell is the sequel to The Train to Impossible Places (2018). Suzy Smith is back working for the Impossible Postal Express, for the dedication of the repaired train. What should have been a quick after dinner event ends up being a multiple day adventure to save Trollville from destruction after a horrendous earthquake.

Although Suzy will miss school and her parents will miss work, she has to stay to save Trollville and her friends. While she and the train will use the impossible rails to get help, the postmaster will stay behind to investigate in the city. Suzy also has Frederick's help; he of the formerly cursed snow globe.

This volume goes more into the details of how Trollville works. There is extensive time spent exploring the ins and outs and ups and downs of the city. There is exploration of the city's history, its culture, and its government.

While this series is from the UK, it continues to sit on the road narrative spectrum as an outlier. This second book takes a shift towards horror in which and how the road narrative building blocks are used.

change in spectrum placement between books. Click to see a larger version.

The first book was a fantasy similar to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz except for the railway being the route. Now, though, the destination is a known place, thus removing it from utopia, from Suzy's point of view.

The biggest shift on the spectrum, though, is a change in traveler type. In the previous book, Suzy as an orphan (separated from her family), was the most powerful type of traveler. Now, though, she knows she can eventually return and she and the other postal workers are acting as protectors (or scarecrows) for Trollville (99).

When there is a scarecrow type travelers, there is often also a minotaur. The minotaur is a traveler trapped by circumstances, and sometimes also a threat to the wellbeing of other characters. That's the case here. The titular character is the minotaur to Suzy and the others' scarecrows.

As the destination is no longer utopia (a no or unknown place), it must be somewhere else on the spectrum list. The destination this time is a bit more metaphorical. It's a time before the earthquake. Or more precisely, it's an understanding of what built Trollville and a desire to prevent its destruction. All these time sensitive prompts makes the destination uhoria (CC).

The route, though, remains the railway. Thus The Great Brain Robbery is the tale of scarecrows against a minotaur to uhoria via the railway (99CC00).

Four stars

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