Elysia: The Magical World
by Malcolm Chester
Lettra Press

"Elysia, however, possessed all of the most wonderful smells of the world rolled into one."

This sequel to the novel Elysia: The World in Children’s Dreams has the four Light Swords—Courtney, Reginald, Steve, and Penelope—return to the world of children’s dreams to protect Elysia (a land occupied by good dreams) from another threat. When the Dark King sends his subjects from Maelstrom to reclaim the Dark Crystal, one of three powerful gems, using invisibility and freezing abilities, the Light Swords must travel to the Magic World to find a means to thwart his plans to harm the place they have come to know and love. Along the way, they must also confront the anxieties of seeing the relationships they have built with each other change as they move towards spending most of their time in the real world.

The creativity found in the worldbuilding of this novel is phenomenal, with the main setting being amid a manifestation of children’s dreams. And there is a whimsical feel to the landscape and characters encountered by the protagonists that one would expect from just such a realm. Having them shift between their waking lives and this shared dreamworld with its increasing consequences also makes for an intriguing conflict. There is a part of these children that wants to remain in this fantastical land with the friends they’ve made, but growing up means they must leave and build relationships beyond it. That’s an excellent metaphor for the struggles of leaving childhood behind to assume all the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood. As such, their discovery of how to handle that transition becomes one of the strongest parts of this series.

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