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Rise of the Jumbies: 06/23/22

Rise of the Jumbies

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste is the second book in the Jumbies series. Corinne LaMer defeated Severine the jumbie and has gone back to a relatively normal life, despite having learned that her mother was also a jumbie. But everything changes after a tsunami.

After the island is besieged by the tsunami, children start disappearing. They're last seen near sources of water. Fingers point to Corinne.

Corinne and two of her friends decide to find the missing children, even if that means going to Mama D'Leau for help. Following her instructions, they end up on a quest that takes them to the other side of the world.

This second volume draws on the lore that drowned slaves became merfolk. The how and why for this book is a very personal one tied directly into the theme of family: made and found.

The novel has three distinct parts: the disappearing children, the journey, and the final confrontation. The third act, though, doesn't flow as naturally as the first two. It takes a while to gear up before Corinne realizes what she has to do to save her island. While what it entails involves the potential for great personal sacrifice the emotional hits didn't strike as hard as similar ones in the second act.

I suspect, though, that if I were in the intended age range of this book's audience, the emotional hits would have had exactly the opposite effects. If I were still in upper elementary to middle school ages, I would probably have been baffled by the emotional anguish the mermaids feel as they help the children reach their destination. But the later threat to Corinne's own home and family life would have left me bawling.

The third book is The Jumbie God's Revenge (2019).

Four stars

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