Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Pam Brondos
Natalie is devoted to finding a cure for the bite of the Nala in Fourline. Unfortunate humans become partially Nala when bitten. After trial and error, Natalie believes that she has succeeded and becomes obsessed with returning to Fourline to deliver the cure. She acts against everyone's counsel and advice and sneaks through the membrane. Her sister Calpurnia follows her through. Nat is almost to the Healing House when she and Cal are attacked by a Nala. Nat runs into the forest to lead them away while Cal runs to deliver the serum. Nat is betrayed by a corrupt Sister and delivered to the Nala Queen. She escapes with help from her friends, and the full campaign to regain the throne is on. The battle rages on all fronts until Fourline is regained and the Nala Queen is killed. With Fourline safe, Nat and Cal return home, and Soris, Natalie's boyfriend, joins them on the farm.
This is an enjoyable series, but some weaknesses keep it from being great. The uncertainty of the love story feels a little forced and is stretched out too long. Nat's constant traipsing into trouble becomes a little annoying and detracts from the victory of retaking the capitol and the country. There is something inherently more interesting in man's inhumanity to man than in Natalie's battle with the Nala Queen. Mudug is the real evil in the story of Fourline, but his defeat receives less attention than Nat's battle with the Queen. A great deal is said about Mudug, but the reader never actually meets him. A final battle with the queen is inevitable and that part of the story is well written, but a final showdown with Mudug should receive equal time, attention, and importance. It would also have been nice to have a formal celebration of victory before Nat and Cal returned home. This book is fun light reading. It won't change the world, but it will give the reader a great adventure without having to leave the couch.
*Contains moderate violence.