In the second of the intriguing Star of Deltora series, the stakes are raised as main character Britta struggles to complete her quest to win the coveted title of Rosalyn apprentice and start her trading career.

Once again I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the flawed characters who seemed so much more realistic due to their lack of perfection!

The Keeper of the Crystal will not allow the Star of Deltora ship to anchor on Maris Islands due to the presence of an evil, lurking somewhere… The strained atmosphere provides for mystery and drama where it seems everyone could potentially be a traitor. Have you ever met a cunning trader who has taken advantage of you through an unfair price or worse still, as in this story, when the seller attempts to steal back the item sold from the buyer?

Someone somewhere it is known, is trying to sabotage and destroy the others fair trading competition.

Who is Britta able to trust?

Standing up for a fellow acquaintance gets her nothing but ridicule and shame. When that ridicule and rejection comes from the friend herself, it becomes a silent suffering Britta must bare.

Just as the reader is led to believe there is no trust possible, our heroine falls into a trap and is required not only to trust but to risk her own life to save others.

There are several extremely memorable scenes such as the beautiful and enchanting island of Two Moons. As the ship nears the island sailing through a sea of “blue-green glass” Britta feels sleepy and drawn to it by a strange power she cannot understand.

The language and invention of dramatic scenes is a captivating and engrossing read. At one point, Britta finds herself waking up on a boat driven by giant slugs. The giant slugs begin fighting to the death, throwing their huge pulsating bodies about as they wrestle viciously with each other and then try to kill a human by suffocating him in the mud. Read on to find out if Britta is strong enough to save the human and escape unhurt and how she fares with the “turtle people.”

A former children’s librarian, Jane Fagan is currently a full-time wife and mother of two.