5 stars

Worm Winds of Zanzibar is the second book in the series following Alex Trueman and his friends. The first book in this series – Caught in a Moment – was fun, had some good characters and an interesting premise. This book, however, was ten times better. Not only was the setting far more interesting and the plot a lot more complicated, I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions.

The wit of this book, along with its host of interesting characters was made even better by its setting in a parallel world Middle Eastern dictatorship. I loved the illustration of what can happen, and has happened throughout history, when the power of a whole nation rests on the shoulders of one individual. There was also the fascinating mystery of the worm, which I shan’t spoil by mentioning any more than that.

The culture shock experienced by the main characters was also brilliantly handled. Every time the ‘Outlanders’, as they dubbed themselves, seemed to be integrating into their new society, something would happen to remind both the characters and the reader that this is a culture alien to their own, though not one that is in fact completely fictional, as there are many places around the world today with similar practices and worse.

The plot thread of Alex’s special skills was also developed and built upon interestingly from Caught in a Moment, because what’s a fantasy trilogy without a lead who has a special power?

If you read the first book and aren’t sure whether you can be bothered with the second, please give it a try. It’ll be worth it, I promise! I, for one, cannot wait for the third installment.