“In the dark around her, there was only the gentle snore of the pirates, and the occasional sound of something pattering with tiny clawed feet over the dry floorboards.

Over where Jonathan slept, there was no sound at all.

Not a single breath, not a snuffle.

It was a very loud sort of silence, Flick thought.

As if someone was trying their very hardest to be quiet as they cried.”

L.D. Lapinksi

I picked up the first Strangeworlds Travel Agency last year on my search for comp titles for Project: GREY. (For those unfamiliar, a “comp title” is a book or series you use to compare your own work to as a kind of shorthand for literary agents. It says, ‘Hey, you know that book? My book is kind of like that.’)

But it became something more.

Flick is a young girl who has just moved to a small British town outside of the city. While initially wary of her new surroundings, things take a turn for the adventurous when she meets Jonathan Mercator and the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, an organization dedicated to guarding and studying each of the worlds contained within individual suitcases.

The first book is an introductory adventure with a lot of series foreshadowing, as Flick learns the dark truth of the multiverse: it’s dying.

The second, “The Edge of the Ocean,” is a dynamic follow up to it that just begs you to play Klaus Badelt’s Pirates of the Caribbean soundtracks the entire time, as Flick, Jonathan, and…Avery…try to save a flat, circular water world filled with pirates and merfolk from fading away into the bitter nothingness.

Lapinski’s writing is descriptive without bogging down the pace, keeping the adventure moving nicely. I finished the back 2/3 of this book at 11 o’clock at night.

It’s one of those stories where after you finish a chapter in a new location, you immediately know what it looks like, what it feels like, and you have no idea how they did it. I learned a lot about writing those types of scenes from these books. Flick’s inner monologue is relatable and Jonathan, tricky a character as he is, has his own demons to battle, constantly switching from sad to stoic to heroic to not-liking-to-get-wet.

I guess my only bother was the new addition, Avery. She plays a big role in the books climax, which, okay, yeah, sure, but I guess I wanted more from her as the story went on.

Strangeworlds Travel Agency: The Edge of the Ocean (Barnes & Noble)

Thanks for reading,

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