The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye is the second in Tracey Hecht’s The Nocturnals middle grade series illustrated by Kate Liebman. The book follows three nocturnal friends: Dawn the fox, Bismark the sugar glider, and Tobin the pangolin, as they attempt to save their forest home from a threatening, yet seen beast.
Dawn, Bismark, and Tobin have formed a team called The Night Brigade, which is devoted to protecting the animals of the night from any terrors that might arise. So when a great earthquake of sorts is felt, and the forest animals feels threatened, the friends embark on a quest to solve the mystery of the mysterious quake and its source. Along the way they meet a new friend Polyphema, a tuatara who seems to know a bit about the beast, not to mention she has a third eye with which she claims she can see the future, past, and present. As they go, the friends incur the help of other animals in the forest in an attempt to trap the beast and end its horrors once and for all, but the mysteries keep mounting.
Not necessarily contiguous with the first book, The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions, Hecht writes a novel that can stand on its own and allows readers to jump right into the series and backtrack later. The characters are each unique, loveable and sometimes annoying in a way that the reader can’t help but be invested in them. Even the so called “bad guys” have an element of sympathy and understanding about them that teaches young readers to think critically about how they treat the people around them and what might be going on in those “bad guys” lives. Ideas of disability and difference also arise in the novel in a way that teaches acceptance. The Night Brigade accepts everyone for who they are, the Brigade is compassionate, forgiving, and brave, but they can also be scared too. Hecht does a great job of tying together themes and morals centering around acceptance, understanding, and friendship.
Published by Fabled Films Press, The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye will be released on September 20, 2016. You can preorder a copy at your local bookstore.
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FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.