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The Twilight Prisoner


The Twilight Prisoner

At the end of my review of Katherine Marsh’s THE NIGHT TOURIST, I wrote that the book leaves “readers hoping for a sequel and another glimpse into whether or not Jack can find hope and comfort among the living as well as he does among the dead.” Fortunately, for fans of Jack Perdu’s original adventures, Marsh has done just that in the sequel to her debut novel.

This one is called THE TWILIGHT PRISONER, and it opens with 15-year-old Jack trying desperately to fit in with his real live classmates at the George C. Chapman High School in New York City. Jack is a talented Classics scholar, so he excels in Latin translation --- especially in Ovid’s myths --- and he fits right in with fellow members of the Latin Club. But Jack is still pretty clueless when it comes to figuring out how to relate to classmates outside of their study group. That goes especially for his smart, funny friend, Cora Flores. Jack would love to get to know her, maybe even go on a date, but he doesn’t know how to relate to real live girls his own age.

During the course of a spectacularly bad first date, Jack, desperate for a conversation starter, lets Cora in on a little secret: just like characters in the myths they read, he has been to the Underworld. He even takes Cora along for a little visit --- not realizing that doing so might trap her there forever. Jack and his ghostly friend Euri have three days to discover how to return Cora to the land of the living, or she’ll be a prisoner there, unable to help her sick mother. Their only chance is to find the long-dead cartographer who knows the city’s secret passages and escape routes better than anyone else.

Meanwhile, Jack has apparently gained a fair amount of notoriety in the Underworld since his first journey there; he has become known as the Living Avenger. Why does Jack seem to look just as dead as the ghosts themselves? Why has Jack and Cora’s other classmate, Austin, chosen to linger in the Underworld as well? What is the real story behind Euri’s tragic death? And how can Jack choose between two equally fascinating girls --- one living and one dead?

THE NIGHT TOURIST was inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Its sequel is based heavily on the story of Persephone, the bride of Hades who was destined to spend half of each year in the Underworld while her mother mourned her absence. This provides much of the mythical underpinnings of the novel, but Marsh also offers plenty of genuine tension and emotional impact, as Jack learns more about Euri’s past and Cora’s present --- and tries to find out his place in the (Under)world.

The book is simultaneously fast-paced (the friends are constantly on the run from three-headed Cerberus and the security guards who patrol the Underworld), funny (the dead do the limbo at a ghostly dance party) and emotionally charged (Jack must figure out both how, and whom, to love). Marsh’s excellent series just keeps getting better.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on April 7, 2009

The Twilight Prisoner
by Katherine Marsh

  • Publication Date: April 27, 2010
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 1423106946
  • ISBN-13: 9781423106944