Delphine and the Dark Thread

­Disney-Hyperion. (Delphine: Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368048330.
Gr 4-6–When we last left our mouse (and cat) heroes, they had escaped the rat attack of the Winterberry Ball at the Palace. Now, they are in the dark woods in search of the evil self-proclaimed rat king, Midnight, to put an end to the terrible war. The path is hard, cold, and snowy with little food, but Delphine and courtly Alexander, along with faithful cat Cornichonne, are surviving as best they can. All the while Delphine is channeling anger into her magic, making it more dangerous and forbidden while trying to ignore the quest of finding out who she is. But the answer to where she came from may also reveal how to beat the rat king. Perhaps anger is not the way to unknot past wrongs and spells. Readers will need to read the first book, Delphine and the Silver Needle, as not much backstory is given and things start right where the last book ended. Some of the fairytale aspects are lost in this installment as it veers more into a hero’s quest, but readers will still become immersed in this animal world. Familiar characters experience growth, and delightful new ones are introduced, such as a helpful family of bats. Past and present plot lines intersect (with distinguishing typeface), eventually revealing connections and rendering the plot a beautifully intricate tapestry. While the hemming up of the plot at the end tends toward hurried and unbelievable based on the actions of the characters throughout, readers will likely appreciate the happy ending.
VERDICT A sound sequel that brings adventure and mystery, and weaves an animal story that will appeal to a wide audience.

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