Peter Stewart – 14 year old boy who is a total science geek (in a good way, in my opinion). He is stellar at all things math and science and is bored in his normal high school as a result. Unfortunately, it also makes him kind of an outcast.
Lily Portman – 14 year old new girl orphan and has been a foster kid forever because all her families think she is nuts because she can see the penumbra (think spirits who influence the living).
Cole Jefferson – two years younger than Peter, but his best friend.
Brock Jefferson – Cole’s older brother. He seems to be trying hard to adjust to life now that he isn’t the popular soccer star.
Bruce Stewart – Peter’s dad. Works as a physicist at the local university. He has told Peter tales of King Arthur and magic for years.
Kane – one of the Watchers (the group watching and protecting King Arthur’s descendants through time, watching out for the “Child of the Prophecy”. He is trapped in the lake with the Shadow Lord aka Sargon and Excalibur at the start of this installment.
Isdemus – head of the Watchers and someone Bruce has always spoken about.
Shadow Lord – the big bad evil who wants to take over the world.
Nimbi – good magical creatures. Sort of the opposite of the penumbra. A few key nimbi: Fides Dignus, Dan, Sully and Jael
Anthony – met him briefly in book one. But we really get to see him and the trouble he causes in this book. He is dead useful to Peter and the gang though.
Eustace – a little tag along who causes trouble and is a helpful little one all at the same time.
Maskia – one of the Watchers from Eqypt. She seems to be second in command and is a great researcher. She had all the knowledge about the sorcerer’s stone. But she doesn’t really believe in gifts because no one in Eqypt can use the Ancient Tongue.
Bomani – head of the Watchers in Eqypt.
Professor Cane – one of the teachers at the high school.
Locations: England (and Carlion and Avalon) and Egypt (Cairo, Giza and Carlion’s sister city Ibn Alaam)
Main Premise: The Shadow Lord is trapped with Kane. He convinces Kane (by lying to him) to get Excalibur and set them both free and act as a human host for the Shadow Lord. After he is set free, he uses Kane to convince one of the maids to keep his presence at the castle a secret (and lies to her telling her that they are helping, not hurting by doing so). And this is so he can get a map from the secret library which has the location of the sorcerer’s stone on it. Meanwhile, Bruce, Dan, Sully and Jael head to Egypt to look for the stone – or info on where to find it. We learn that Peter has the ability to see all of history when in his meadow and he can take others to the meadow also.
How it Ended: Sully is killed, the Shadow Lord has the stone and Peter and Lilly know they need to go after Excalibur.
Other Important things to remember for later: Sully is gone. Dan is in love with Jael. Jael is reluctant to return the affection. Lily and Peter both have multiple powers. Peter’s energy still appears to be the only one that has unlimited energy though. They can both warp. The Shadow Lord will probably be hiding until he figures out a game plan. Peter thinks the council will decide to go after Excalibur. Guinevere and the Shadow Lord have reunited. They have the stone. There is a mole somewhere in the castle (I think it might be Prof Crane or Dr. MacDouglas’ imaging specialist). Cole and Brock’s mother was having a conversation with them about going back to Norwich because she doesn’t think it’s any safer where they are. There was a seed planted about whether or not we should trust Maskia. Peter’s mom is dead (indirectly) because of the maid who helped Kane but her remorse seems genuine.
Action, adventure, mythology, magic, science, time travel and so much more!! And I have again found an instance of time travel that I can deal with – and that is a rarity! Anyone familiar with my reading habits, reviews, and general thoughts about stories knows that I don’t do well with time travel. In fact, in the forum I used to be heavily involved in related to another wonderful set of books (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott) it became widely known that reading about time travel risks my head exploding! But here – given the way time traveling occurs, I am not at risk of that. I like this kind of time traveling.
We got more of the same in Invincible. And that is a good thing. The elements of the story worked in the first installment and it was nice to see that continue in the second. While this is really a filler book, the set up for the final act, it was a wonderful set up. We got action, travel to Egypt, more magic and more mystery. Everything seems poised for what will hopefully be an awesome ending.
The battle scenes are what need some special kudos in this installment. How often do we read about someone using a pyramid as a weapon to kill someone. And not as in a stage – you know, they were standing on the pyramid using the power from it – no. I mean the pyramid itself being used like a baseball bat – beating down on someone. It was awesome. The notion that Peter can suspend time to imagine the myriad of possibilities to save some made for a quick paced, yet slow enough to digest, battle scene. And the acknowledgement by Peter that he isn’t really all that creative was stunning (in a good way). It reminded me of when Ferris Bueller turns to look at the camera to tell the audience to stop and look around or life will pass by. It was a great way to acknowledge the reader (or at least this particular reader) and what I was thinking anyway, yet still play a role in the story. It was also pretty cool to learn some of the limits on the magic and Peter’s ability when talking about going back to save Sully. All the individual threads of the story came together, and not in a contrived way. It is such a wonderful treat to have a story come together in a way that feels natural and not one where it feels like the author manipulated or stretched things to get it all to turn out the way they wanted. Here, it really felt like if magic were real, this could have happened in just this way. I think part of this is owed to the tie in of physics. Again, it’s a acknowledgment by the author of the real world around us without being patronizing and allows her to build a world that feels like it fits within the one we are actually living in.
The only issue I had, and it is a teensy tiny issue is with a few instances of the British-isms, as the author dubbed them in the acknowledgements in Intangible. There were moments when they felt a little clunky and forced, or rather sort of in-your-face. I am not sure I would have noticed if they were missing. I have read a bit of stuff by Brits, where the story takes place in England and the British-isms are all over the place. I don’t know that they added anything and I don’t think if they weren’t there they would have detracted. Given the clunky nature, I might have skipped them altogether. But – see, that is itty bitty criticism.
I don’t have much more to say because all of the wonder and joy that I found in the first book is here too. This was not a let down like so many second installments are. It carried the greatness from the first book right through each page to the end. I am just hopeful that the third, and I believe final, installment in this series lives up to the first two. I know I certainly have great expectations because of the wonderful job the author did with this second book.