Published: May 1st 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 360 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
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The next book in the gripping series from the fantasy masters … Magical twins, mystery and danger, unexplained events, and an Evil that refuses to be contained.
Twins Jaide and Jack Shield are finally settling into their roles as troubletwisters when an unexpected plea for help arrives from Grandma X’s twin Lottie, who they discover has been trapped in the realm of The Evil for over forty-five years. The rescue becomes urgent when the twins find out about Project Thunderclap, a plan to neutralise the threat of the Evil permanently, sealing the gaps between the two worlds—and trapping Lottie on the other side forever.
As Jaide and Jack struggle through a series of examinations to become senior troubletwisters, they must also find a way to save Lottie. But nothing goes as planned, and soon Jack finds himself lost in The Evil dimension. Can the twins learn to control their growing powers and get everyone safely home to Portland?
We’re back with Jack and Jaide for their darkest and most dangerous adventure yet. Missing, Presumed Evil is still full of wit and humour, but there’s a definite dark tinge to everything that happens, signalling how far the twins have come since we met them.
This book begins with a letter that almost strangles Jack in its eagerness to be read: Grandma X’s sister is still alive in the realm of The Evil, asking for a rescue. An exciting adventure follows, with our twin protagonists Jack and Jaide beginning a series of Examinations that will bring them closer to being full Wardens, and an insufferable new houseguest named Stefano who will try their patience.
I was surprised to find how accepting Jaide, in particular, is of Grandmother X’s silence throughout this book. After three books of chaffing at being treated like kids (they’re twelve, it’s a hard time for everyone involved!), the twins now understand that sometimes their father and grandmother keep them in the dark to keep them safe. They have also come a long way in understanding and controlling their Gifts, and I really liked how they had to learn how to use their new abilities in this book.
One of the things I liked about Missing, Presumed Evil is that Jack and Jaide no longer sound, to me, like they’re twelve years old. They sound much older in the ways they speak and think, which was great for my enjoyment, but it was confusing to be reminded of exactly how young and inexperienced they are.
Introducing Stefano, another troubetwister, is an interesting choice. Like the twins, I didn’t really know what to make of him. On one hand he’s a great contrast to Jack and Jaide – he doesn’t really get along with his own twin and he is slightly further along in his training than they are. But I’m not sure whether he actually added anything to the story – many of the lessons he was able to impart could have been taught by existing characters. I spent a large part of this book waiting for Jaide to develop a crush on the exotic troubletwister, but thankfully she didn’t.
Of all the exciting developments in this book, perhaps the one that disappointed me the most how the authors dealt with The Evil. After spending three books telling readers that the entity is very bad and horrible, so nefarious that it only needs to be called ‘The Evil’, the mythology is completely turned on its head in the last few chapters of this book. Suddenly, there’s a whole new way to look at the situation, one that isn’t naive and black-and-white. In my opinion, this revelation was handled clumsily, and I would have liked more clues to have been left in earlier instalments, and a less rushed ending.
Missing, Presumed Evil is a great adventure and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Jaide and Jack. I am unsure whether there will be more books in the series, but I’d absolutely read more if there are. Packed with fun, danger, magic, family and friends, the Troubletwisters series is perfect for younger readers and those who enjoy rollicking adventures.