By Author / Illustrator
Francesca Gibbons, Chris Riddell
The thrilling sequel to the best-selling middle-grade debut of Autumn 2020. Imogen and Marie return through the door in the tree to a whole new Yaroslav. Miro is king, but hates it. Anneshka is no longer Queen. . . and hates it. When Anneshka hears a prophecy that she will rule the Greatest Kingdom, she seizes Marie, believing her to be key to fulfilling it, and heads over the mountains. Imogen and Miro chase after them, in hot pursuit. But what they find in the lands beyond will change everything again, and see them facing dangers they could never have imagined, both human and otherwise.
Beautifully illustrated throughout by Chris Riddell, exciting and funny, the Clock of Stars trilogy is a timeless fantasy from the most astonishing new voice in middle grade.
In Beyond the Mountains, the second book in A Clock of Stars fantasy, Imogen and Marie have returned from the magical land through the door in the tree. The trouble is, that no-one believes them, least of all their Mum and her partner Mark. One day, in order to prove that it is real, Imogen and Marie go back through the door, this time followed by Mark. There they meet Miro again (now king) and a host of other characters, some new, some from the previous book. This time they travel beyond Yaroslav, across the mountains to other countries, ruled by kings and queens quite unlike Miro. When Marie is snatched away Imogen must travel to find her sister and bring her safely home.
If you like books with adventure, monsters, water dragons, giant cats and brave children, then this is the story for you. It is stuffed full of excitement and goes along at breakneck speed. The imaginary lands are so interesting I almost wanted to linger in each place longer, to get to know them.
Imogen is a very real child, beset by worries and regrets, but she learns about herself and how to control her anxiety as the story progresses. The magnificent and magical clock has a bigger role this time - almost a character in its own right. I feel certain there is more to tell about the clock.
Once again, the incomparable Chris Riddell is the illustrator, and he is given a lot of space in the book to show off his drawings. My favourite, besides the beautiful cover, is the drawing of the city of Valkaha. Sometimes your imagination is better, but in this case Chris Riddell’s work is so magnificent it was entirely right.
The ending is absolutely terrifying, a complete cliff hanger, and not for children (or adults) of a nervous disposition! It came out of nowhere and it is worth reading the book just for that. Strong readers in upper KS2, with lots of reading stamina (it is very long) will enjoy this book; possibly even more than the first one.
496 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+