Recommended for ages 9-12
When we last left Tristan Hunt and his Sea Camp friends, they’d had a rough summer that included being held prisoner by a crazy scientist and being chased by their environment-menacing foe, billionaire JP Rickerton. Camp ended early to get the heat off the kids, but Tristan and his friends aren’t out of action just yet: there’s an emergency by Grand Cayman, where stingrays and other sea life are disappearing. Tristan, Hugh, Ryder, Sam, and Rosina are called in to investigate, but they may end up missing along with the stingrays they’re trying to locate!
This third installment is the most fun Tristan Hunt adventure yet. Ms. Prager has hit her stride with this third book; her writing flows smoothly and she’s as comfortable with these characters as they are with one another. There’s more joking around now; more confidence; the kids are a little more inventive with their strategies and bolder when it comes to taking initiative. Tristan isn’t quite as focused on his on-land clumsiness as he’s been in the past, and, being teenagers now, they’re also starting to notice one another.
The Jamaican-accents are back, too! This time, instead of sharks, we’ve got stingrays calling the kids “bobo” and “mon”, adding some more humor to the storyline. There are some tense moments and some straight-up James Bond-type stunts happening here, courtesy of a billionaire inventor introduced here. (The books take place around Grand Cayman, there are going to be millionaires, folks.)
Readers are going to get some harsh truths in this book: not everyone appreciates life. But that’s why Tristan and his friends work so hard to keep the waters safe. You’re going to read about some pretty terrible conditions that people inflict on sea life and people who try to stop them, but it’s nothing that a kid can’t handle, and hopefully, he or she will come away with a greater respect for our world and the creatures we share that world with.
Lots of great conservation and environmental messages here, some new questions introduced (I still have questions from the last book!), and overall, a big, fun read. A plus to your middle grade realistic fantasy (I know that’s not a genre, but it should be) collection.