Saturday 8 December 2018

Review on The Great Sugar War (The Land Without Color #2)

After learning about how his Grandpa Alvin saved The Kingdom of Color, Brandon is determined to teach his classmates the truth about their history. When he discovers the ruins of the old color factory, he is shocked to find the skeleton of General Droww, and an old book describing the adventures of Brandon's Great Great Grandfather Otto, who had discovered The Land of Color long before Grandpa Alvin. With the help of General Droww and the Mighty Lion, Otto discovers that there may be an outside force propelling the war between The Kingdom of Color and The Kingdom of Shapes, and Otto must do anything to bring peace between the kingdoms once more.

So I decided to read this series for Series Crackdown, a reading event created by my friend Mel (TheBookMoo) where the goal is to read a series you've been putting off for a while in ten days. As I got sent the last two books in The Land Without Color series a while ago, I decided to reread the first book (my review for that one can be found HERE), and then read the other two books.

Instead of focusing on Alvin, this book takes place many years earlier, and follows Alvin's grandfather Otto, who had come across The Kingdom of Color after losing his way at sea. Otto soon finds Colonel Droww, who after having his ship sank, is helplessly lost at sea. Droww recruits Otto to be his assistant in the war between The Kingdom of Color and The Kingdom of Shapes, where the Sugar Soldiers are killing both the soldiers and the grasshoppers of Grasshopper Fields. This book felt different to the first one, as although the writing style was still very much middle grade, the plot itself seemed more serious. Where the first book was full of talking animals and a two headed dragon, this one focused on war and an elaborate plot to rule both kingdoms. I must admit that I did prefer the first book, and felt as if this one was a lot darker in it's themes.

I loved that some of the characters we met in the first book returned, such as Droww and the Mighty Lion. I loved seeing how different Droww was when he was younger, and learning more about things that were briefly mentioned in the first book. Something that I felt was lacking in this book however was strong female characters. Even though female characters were lacking in the first book too, Permy was a huge help to Alvin, and stuck by him the whole way. The only female character in this book was Aunt Nellie, an old lady who seemed to carry everything in her bag. She initially seemed like an interesting character, but sadly ended up doing nothing more than providing the men with items to help them on their quest. I also didn't like how she stayed behind to look after the babies on the last leg of the journey, as it seemed to imply that only men can be the hero's, and women have to stay behind to look after children. I think the book would definitely have benefited from a strong female soldier.

The book tended to drag in places, especially when they were discussing war tactics. I also felt as if the second half of the book could have been planned out better, as I found myself getting confused when characters who had only been briefly mentioned before became central to the plot. New characters were added too close to the end of the book, and I felt as if children could have a hard time keeping up with what was happening. I was also disappointed in the reveal of the main antagonist, as it felt very repetitive from the first book.

Even though I found parts of the book boring, I did love some of the more action packed scenes, particularly the fight against the Sugar Soldiers. I loved that we were told how the grasshopper fields had become the Sugar Desert, and I particularly loved the addition of The Kingdom of Shapes. The book was overall a little too confusing, and seemed to read more like an arc than a finished copy. Even though I know practically nothing about editing, it did have quite a few mistakes for a finished copy, and I think it could have been looked over one more time for grammatical errors and plot inconsistencies. It was an enjoyable book overall, and I am looking forward to reading the final book in the series!

  | Amazon Book Depository