During a visit to Keeper, the Giant of Castle Mountain, Josh accidentally loses the Nexus Ring, the magical ring that permits movement across a veil of magic to another world. He and Maddy have to get the ring back before the veil is damaged beyond repair. During a visit to Keeper, the Giant of Castle Mountain, Josh accidentally loses the Nexus Ring, the magical ring that permits movement across a veil of magic to another world. He and Maddy have to get the ring back before the veil is damaged beyond repair.Josh, who’s “almost twelve,” has learned that he has the ability to do magic. He and his younger sister, Maddy, saved the Nexus Ring from two greedy magical creatures – Aleena the water spirit, and Gronvald the cruel troll. Each wanted to use the ring to cross the veil, but each crossing damages the veil. Now, on a family camping trip near Banff, Josh and Maddy steal away to visit the giant of Castle Mountain, Keeper of the ring. But Josh drops the ring, and Aleena finds it. Josh and Maddy have to follow Aleena to get it back. As they travel all the way to Vancouver Island they are followed by Corvus, the magical leader of the crows. In a rain forest, Josh and the others are swallowed by an ancient cedar and escape into the earth. When the earth won’t let them go, Josh must learn to “become earth,” and use earth magic to help Aleena and Maddy return to the surface.
In this second book of the Veil of Magic series, Maureen Bush once again transports Josh and his younger sister Maddie from Castle Mountain in Banff National Park, where his family is hiking to celebrate Joshs’s twelfth birthday, to a magical land. In the first book, Josh and Maddie discovered a magical nexus ring which helped them cross the veil between the two worlds. The word ‘nexus’ means connection and links the two worlds together. After exploring this land of magic, they eventually entrust the ring to a giant named Keeper for safekeeping.
Josh wants to return to this magical world using his limited mathematical ability., He is unsuccessful in opening the veil until Corvus, a strange black crow, helps them, cross into the magical world. Greeted by the Keeper, they find out about the damage the nexus ring has been causing. Although the ring helps to move between the two worlds, it also damages the veil and harms the magical world itself. When the ring falls into the hands of the water spirit Aleena, the two pursue her to get it back so the evil troll Gronvald does not find it.
Readers will once again be fascinated by a world of magic endangered by the movement between the human world and the magical realm. “Now human changes reach into our world, draining our magic.” (p. 11) It is full of strange creatures such as the otter people, water spirits and evil trolls. In their travels to save the nexus ring, Josh and Maddie have many interesting adventures: disturbing the endangered Banff Springs snails, hiking up the Stanley Glacier, surviving a battering by hail stones, travelling in the flow of the waters with Aleena, and being imprisoned by tree spirits.
Throughout all these adventures, Maureen Bush is sending readers a clear message about the responsibility to preserve the natural beauty of our environment. The novel may take readers to a magical world, but they continually return to the real world. She tells us that “Every living being counts” (p. 84). Readers who have not read the first volume in the series may have some initial difficulty understanding the situation and the characters. However, readers who enjoyed The Nexus Ring will definitely enjoy this new novel of magic and adventure full of “rocks and wildness and ancient secrets” (p. 107) in the wilds of Canada!
Thematic links: Magic; supernatural; Banff National Park; Time Travel; Environmental Responsibility; Endangered Species. Reviewed By: Myra Junyk. October 2010