Published: February 27th 2014 by Pan Macmillan AU
Format: Paperback, 544 pages
Goodreads ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
Time slides around the world so strangely ...
It's not easy being Princess Ko.
Her family is missing, taken to the World through cracks in the Kingdom, which were then sealed tightly behind them.
Now Princess Ko is running the Kingdom, and war is looming.
To help her find her family, she gathers a special group of teens, including Elliot Baranski of the Farms. He's been writing secret letters to a Girl-in-the World named Madeleine Tully - and now the Kingdom needs her help.
Madeleine and Elliot must locate the missing royals, convince them of their true identities, and figure out how to unlock the dangerous cracks between the Kingdom and the World.
All before their enemies can stop them.
The Cracks in the Kingdom is the second instalment in the Colours of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty. The first book, A Corner of White, swept me off my feet but its sequel took my admiration to new heights.
We take up once more with Madeleine Tully of Cambridge, England, The World and Elliot Baranski of Bonfire, The Farms, the Kingdom of Cello as they exchange notes through a crack between their worlds. They must work together, alongside the newly formed Royal Young Alliance, to investigate the mystery of the cracks and find a way to return Cello’s Royal Family to their rightful place. But things aren’t as simple as they seem – the mystery of the cracks refuses to be unravelled, the Royal Family doesn’t remember who they are, and Elliot’s father is still missing.
My favourite aspect of this book – and trust me, it’s hard to pick just the one – is its characters. The protagonists are superbly imagined – Elliot and Madeleine fly off the page and straight into your heart. Elliot is a popular jock – all shiny smile and broad shoulders – who is a vital part of his small community. Even at fifteen, he commands respect and love. Madeleine is a displaced girl – brightly coloured and intelligent – who is learning to accept the new reality she finds herself in. They are tied together, not only by the crack between their worlds and their secret letters, but by the loss of their fathers. Their friendship is genuine and supportive, coloured by the first stirrings of something that could grow to be love.
We also meet a few people, most notably Princess Ko. I’m a bit confused at the prominence she’s given in the blurb, however, since it makes it seem like her point-of-view is included in the story. She’s not a protagonist, but a lot of the action in the book either revolves around her or occurs because of her, so she does have a prominence. I admired her – she’s tenacious but kind, dedicated but unapologetic. I also liked the other members of the RYA: especially Kiera with her sharp edges.
The world building of this series is superb. The Kingdom of Cello is a magical place where colours come to life and seasons roam the lands, where wishes can be fished out of lakes and dragons fly in the skies. But it’s not just Cello with its Magical North and its Olde Quainte – Cambridge through Madeleine’s eyes is just as fantastical and enchanting as Elliot’s world where people can fly. And the best part? My return to these story worlds was eased by the author – I felt as though I’d never left!
The Cracks in the Kingdom is an exquisitely crafted blend of contemporary and fantasy fiction that will delight fans of both genres. A wonderfully compelling story, it will have readers desperate for the next instalment, A Tangle of Gold.