Brackenbeast by Kate Alice MarshallBrackenbeast by Kate Alice Marshall
Series: Thirteens #2
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on August 31, 2021
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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On the night of their thirteenth birthday, Eleanor, Pip, and Otto bested the mysterious Mr. January before he could make them disappear. . . forever.

Eleanor and her two best friends have narrowly escaped the clutches of the January Society and their nefarious leader, but life in the too-quiet Eden Eld isn't safe just yet. Not when there's giant mud monsters snatching up their neighbors and classmates. This time, Mr. January's devilishly stylish sister, Mrs. Prosper, is behind the chaos. Though unsuspecting adults can't see past her irresistable line of make up and skincare products under the name SixSeed.

Inside their book of twisted fairytales, Thirteen Tales of the Gray, Eleanor, Pip, and Otto might find the secret to warding off the brackenbeasts and thwart Mrs. Prosper. That is, if they accept the help of a mysterious figure seemingly plucked from its pages, who looks disquietingly familiar to Eleanor. They quickly learn that the power of the stories they've turned to for help have a stronger hold on them--and their futures--than they realized.

Review from my 8 year old: I love this book! I love this book, because it’s so interesting and also you get to solve a mystery! The mystery is that people keep going missing and strange mud is everywhere. The monster took Mr. Maughan, April, and the Jack, and Uncle Ben. They had to look up in books how to read the stories and figure out how to use the clues. They wanted to get them back. Eleanor’s mom was missing, and they found a book with her handwriting. 

I liked how they were friends and had to solve the mystery. I liked how the grown-ups couldn’t do it, it had to be the 3 kids.

It was cool how Pip was turning into the next Jack. Otto maybe was turning into the Walker at the end.


My review: Pip, Otto, and Eleanor are 3 kids who turned 13 last Halloween in the first book. We did not read the first book,  so we did miss out on a full adventure. It seems that the whole town of Eden Eld made a deal long ago with a Mr. January that every 13 years, 3 children born on Halloween would be sacrificed to the January Society on their 13th birthdays. The amount of magic in this small town is insane. The People Who Look Away are the people who live in the town but every time something magical or unusual happens, they don’t notice it, or if they do, they can’t remember it. So when children go missing, the townspeople carry on. The three children have few allies, and many enemies. The most information they have comes from some older books that are told through fairy tale format.

The kids made a deal in book 1 with Mr. January that since they bested him they would have a year before the next attack, and it would come from his sister, not him. This time around the attacks start earlier than Halloween, and since she isn’t following the rules, the kids aren’t prepared. One of the adults in the town goes missing, and the only clue is a ton of weird mud all over his house, and some scratches on the door. The kids fall through a mud pit (similar to quicksand) but they wind up in a weird woods different than the one they live near. This is where they find Jack.

Jack is a character from the fairy tales, and they didn’t know he was a real person. But as they save him and the story progresses, they come to find out, he is The Jack, as in the most current Jack, and whoever the sword that all the Jacks have carried chooses, that person then becomes the next Jack. While one of the trio is unknowingly turning into the next Jack, there are other characters who are necessary to the story as well. The World Walker and the Hedgewitch. are more than just characters in a book,and they are a lot closer than the kids know.

This book was confusing without reading the first one at first, however it was easy enough to pick up what had happened. My daughter and I were caught up in this tale pretty quickly. I’d definitely recommend this series, although I do recommend reading in order. We look forward to the next installment.

***We got this book at the library