Mistle Child: Undertaken Trilogy, Book Two
Some would argue that Silas Umber inherited the role of Undertaker in the city of Lichport at far too young of an age. After all, Silas’s departed father, the former Undertaker, had kept the reality of the profession secret, and it was a huge learning curve to come in and have to figure out what to do with the spirits that continued to haunt the city marked with cemeteries. But if there was anyone who could expertly handle the job of bringing peace to the spirits of the dead, it had to be an Umber. The Umbers had been in the business of Undertaking for as long as anyone could remember, and Silas had really only inherited what was, in essence, his destiny.
"MISTLE CHILD takes you deeper into the lore of the Undertaker that author Ari Berk has masterfully crafted."
Now with a little experience under his belt, Silas is beginning to feel a little more at ease with the job that was thrust upon him. The people of Lichport are enjoying more peace than they’ve had in awhile, Silas is getting along better with his mother after the whole debacle with his uncle, and the spirits seem not to question his authority as Undertaker like they had in the past. After all Silas has experienced, though, he knows that something unexpected and terrifying could happen at any moment.
Which is why Silas is not surprised when he finds the word ARVALE seemingly burned into his front door. ARVALE, of course, refers to Arvale Manor, the ancestral home of the Umbers. It seems as though Silas has been summoned to visit his extended --- and long dead --- family, but for what he can only imagine.
Stepping foot inside Arvale Manor puts Silas firmly in the realm of the dead, but his family warmly welcomes him and embraces him as one of their own. It soon becomes apparent, though, as to why Silas has been called. They want him to immediately take up the mantle of Janus, the Watcher of the Threshold, who presides over the Door Doom and yields great power to summon and bind the dead in judgment. Not wanting to disappoint his family, or turn away from his duties, Silas agrees and begins his journey deep in the catacombs of the manor.
After accepting the rights and responsibilities and doing all that is necessary to become Janus, Silas accidently unleashes a spirit that had been locked up for centuries. After being stripped of its name and all but forgotten, the spirit is bent on revenge and will not stop until all of Arvale Manor is destroyed. As Janus, Silas is the only one who can stop it, but his family seems to be hiding something in regards to whom the spirit is and why it was locked up. Silas is unsure of whom to trust, but if he doesn’t appease the spirit, he may never return home to the land of the living.
MISTLE CHILD takes you deeper into the lore of the Undertaker that author Ari Berk has masterfully crafted. While it’s not crucial that you go back and read DEATHWATCH, the first book in the trilogy, I would highly recommend it in order to get the rich backstory on how Silas Umber inherited his never boring and quite terrifying job as Undertaker. Reading the first book will also help in understanding the supporting characters’ motivations and decisions, especially when these decisions come back to haunt Silas and set up what can only be a breathtaking finale to the trilogy.
Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on March 8, 2013