de Fombelle spreads out hints and clues like pieces of an intricate clockwork, and although the audience might catch satisfying glimpses of what fits where, the pleasure lies in watching the author deftly assemble minutiae into a glorious whole. There’s justice, loves at last requited, and, even amid the treachery of World War II, the promise of peaceful life on an Aeolian island for characters who have proved themselves worthy. After two volumes of heart-stopping intrigue, readers will enjoy seeing Vango safely home.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
The action is brilliantly operatic as it moves from country to country and from continent to continent. The story runs from 1936 through 1942, which means that it is touched by WWII and the German occupation of France, where meaningful portions of the story are set. But whatever the setting, the story is rich in mysteries, enlivened by surprises, and suffused with suspense. It is so beautifully wrought it reminds us why we love to read, and there can be no higher praise.
—Booklist (starred review)
This sequel is characterized by the same beautiful writing and intricate plotting that made the first so gripping. Mournful at times but also illuminated with moments of humanity and grace: a worthy sequel.
A first purchase in collections where there are fans of Vango and students who enjoy reading adventurous and ambitious novels like Gregory Maguire’s Egg and Spoon (Candlewick, 2014) and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi (HMH, 2002).
—School Library Journal
A cinematic, quickly paced, and clever page-turner, with an adventurous, romantic aura.
—The Horn Book
Fans of this book’s predecessor, Vango: Between Sky and Earth (2014), will find that it shines even more brilliantly paired with this concluding volume. The same elements that made the first title so appealing are here: espionage, a dash of romance, intrigue, complicated characters, exotic locations, misplaced loyalty, revenge, heroics, and travel from one continent to another.
...the prose is well written and engrossing. Teens and adults alike will be invested in discovering Vango’s true identity and unraveling the web of plot.
Those readers who are eager to discover the fate of Vango will be anxious to read this novel.
—School Library Connection
Gr 7 Up—In de Fombelle's action-packed sequel to Between Sky and Earth (Candlewick 2014), Vango continues to search for the man responsible for the death of his parents when he was a baby. The World War II-era story is an intricately woven tale of a young man whose courage is tested in countless ways as he pursues the truth, seeks to understand his own tangled past, and makes sacrifices to help his friends and allies. Familiar fictional and historical figures return in this volume, including police detective Auguste Boulard; Ethel, the Scottish heiress who is in love with Vango; Emilie Atlas, the "Cat," whose walks across the rooftops of Paris allow her to provide valuable information to Vango; Padre Zefiro, Vango's guide and friend; and Commander Hugo Eckener, the airship commander. There's even an appearance by Joseph Stalin. One of the most important scenes centers on the 1937 Hindenberg disaster, which in this installment is a catalyst for one of many plot twists and cliff-hangers that make reading the book a dazzling and demanding experience. The characters move among Paris, New York, and Moscow and experience acts of great loyalty and the consequences of betrayal. It is Vango's certainty in his mission that propels this novel to a satisfying conclusion. "Deep down, this was the only treasure that Vango was after: the secret of his life." VERDICT A first purchase in collections where there are fans of Vango and students who enjoy reading adventurous and ambitious novels like Gregory Maguire's Egg and Spoon (Candlewick, 2014) and Yann Martel's Life of Pi (HMH, 2002).—Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA
Vango's search for the truth of his identity continues, leading him on dangerous escapades across World War II-era Europe and New York City. Vango experienced devastating losses in Vango (2014): the abduction of his surrogate mother and the horrific discovery of how his birth parents were killed by a man from the small Italian town where he was raised. But he also formed lasting bonds with men and women of great integrity whose lives became dedicated to restoring human morality as the crushing brutality of the war began. In this continuation, Vango alternates between using those connections to further his own quest for truth and justice for his parents and forfeiting his search in favor of aiding his friends' continued attempts at making the world safer. Wartime atrocities provide a dark backdrop for this story, and Vango's own personal sacrifices and examinations of his desire for vengeance make this novel more pensive than the first installment. Few characters are left unscathed, and while traditional adventure readers may find this disappointing, it will also resonate as honest. And though several intriguing figures from the first novel seem a bit overlooked, this sequel is characterized by the same beautiful writing and intricate plotting that made the first so gripping. Mournful at times but also illuminated with moments of humanity and grace: a worthy sequel. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)