Darwen Arkwright and the Insidious Bleck (Darwen Arkwright Series #2)

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The second book in the quirky and enchanting Darwen Arkwright series, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society!


Eleven-year-old Darwen Arkwright's life changed forever when he first set foot in Silbrica, the wondrous and magical world beyond the mirror. Now, he and his friends Rich and Alexandra--the Peregrine Pact--must journey to Costa Rica to save a boy who's been stolen by ...

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Darwen Arkwright and the Insidious Bleck (Darwen Arkwright Series #2)

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The second book in the quirky and enchanting Darwen Arkwright series, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society!


Eleven-year-old Darwen Arkwright's life changed forever when he first set foot in Silbrica, the wondrous and magical world beyond the mirror. Now, he and his friends Rich and Alexandra--the Peregrine Pact--must journey to Costa Rica to save a boy who's been stolen by the Insidious Bleck, a giant tentacled creature that leaves destruction in its wake. But what at first seemed to be a single kidnapping turns out to be an elaborate conspiracy that threatens the very future of our world. And this time, old allies can't be trusted, and the danger runs deeper than Darwen could have ever imagined.

Kirkus Reviews called the first Darwen book "Brilliant!" and we think you'll agree. It's a completely modern take on the kind of fantasy that has delighted middle-grade readers for generations.

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for the DARWEN ARKWRIGHT series:

"If your mirror suddenly turned into a window, and you could climb through it to an amazing--but dangerous--world . . . would you do it it? Would you dare? If you answered yes, this is the book for you! Fantastic, surprising fun!" --R.L. Stine, bestselling author of GOOSEBUMPS "Great storytelling draws you into the book just as surely as Darwen--a Lancashire lad caught in the USA--is drawn through the mirror" --Joseph Delaney, author of THE LAST APPRENTICE "There hasn't been such a 'mirroculous' adventure since Alice climbed through the looking glass . . . . This imaginative story has it all, making it an enticing selection for young readers who fell in love with The Golden Compass and The Chronicles of Narnia." --New York Journal of Books
“The story is gripping and fast paced, and readers will cheer for Darwen and his friends.” –School Library Journal  "Truly heart-racing moments." --VOYA
" 'Brilliant!' as Darwen would say." --Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Thompson
To Darwen Arkwright it seems like forever since he and his friends, Rich and Alexandra, formed the Peregrine Pact to protect their school from monsters. Darwen is a mirroculist, someone who can travel through mirrors into the strange world of Silbrica. Mr. Peregrine, a local shopkeeper, introduced Darwen to his powers and is one of the gatekeepers of Silbrica. When Mr. Peregrine shows up at their school as the new world studies teacher, the children know something is up. Darwen ventures alone into Silbrica one night and sees a young boy pulled through a mysterious portal by an enormous tentacled beast. The next thing he knows their world studies class is taking a field trip to Costa Rica. Of course, this is just a ruse to cover up their new mission to find and close the breaches in the barrier between Earth and Silbrica which the octopus-like Insidious Bleck is using to take children. Once in Costa Rica the kids uncover a much more sinister plot to destroy the rainforest and the world. Although the constant bickering between the three friends does become tiresome, it is still a great adventure story told in a fast pace narrative. There is enough backstory provided for those who have not read the first book, Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact. The author touches on many subjects including environment, land development, archaeology, history, Costa Rican life, betrayal, loyalty, and friendship. Each chapter is headed by clever black and white illustrations. Part of the "Darwen Arkwright" series. Recommend to fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Reviewer: Mary Thompson
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—The kids from Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact (Penguin, 2011) are back in another heart-stopping adventure. It's now winter in Atlanta, and Darwen is dreading his first Christmas since the death of his parents. He perks up when a familiar face joins the faculty at Hillside Academy; Mr. Peregrine is now his world-studies teacher. He sends Darwen a portal that the youngster travels through into a junglelike place where he witnesses the abduction of a boy by a horrific creature, the Insidious Bleck. Mr. Peregrine arranges for Darwen's entire sixth-grade class to travel to Costa Rica in order for him to find out how the Insidious Bleck is entering our world, and to close the breach. They encounter rainforest wonders and terrible danger. The inhabitants of the rainforest are losing their children, and Darwen is determined to put a stop to that. Along the way, he finds out that he can't always trust what, and whom, he sees. The story is gripping and fast paced, and readers will cheer for Darwen and his friends as they discover who is behind the evil events, and Darwen discovers the meaning of home and family. Each chapter opens with an appealing, imaginative illustration.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Henderson County Public Library, NC
Kirkus Reviews
A class trip thrusts Darwen and his friends into world-hopping danger. Eleven-year-old Darwen Arkwright, recently transplanted to Atlanta from England, found out last semester that he's a mirroculist: He can travel to the fantastical (and dangerous) world of Silbrica through mirrors. With friends Rich and Alex, he saved Hillside Academy by foiling the schemes of the powerful Greyling. Now, when he witnesses a boy's abduction in the jungle while on a trip through the mirrors, Darwen wants to help. His mentor, Mr. Peregrine, now a teacher at Darwen's school, sets up a class trip to Costa Rica (the likely location of the portal Darwen visited). Once there, Darwen wants to find the missing boy, but Mr. Peregrine has other orders from the Silbrican Council. Everyone seems to be working against Darwen, and he's haunted by a vision from his past of a laughing clown. Can he mend fences with his friends and save the boy before a nasty developer takes possession of the area and the Insidious Bleck snatches more children? Hartley hits a sophomore slump with his sequel to Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact (2011). Endless and pointless bickering among the principle characters and a monster that sounds more Dr. Seuss refugee than fearsome beast hobble an already-sluggish adventure. Neither a whiz-bang finish nor a tacked-on environmental message can save Darwen's second adventure; hopefully his third will reignite the series. (Fantasy. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595144102
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • Publication date: 11/21/2012
  • Series: Darwen Arkwright Series , #2
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 424,939
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

AJ Hartley is the author of several bestselling adult novels and has been published in over twenty-seven languages worldwide. He lives with his wife and son in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Darwen Arkwright series is his first for children.
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