A Beth-Hill Novel: Jacob Lane Series, Book 3: The Eighth Room by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy/Young Adult)

 
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Bitten by Books (http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=171)
The Eighth Room by Jennifer St. Clair begins as both her previous stories in the Jacob Lane series have, with a character and a dilemma. Sean, crown prince of the Selkies, is being sent to Darkbrook Academy to escape the wrath of the Finfolk. While making the cross from sea to land, he and his uncle are attacked with iron blades and bullets. Lucas (Jacob’s Uncle) and Niklas (council member and dragon) arrive in time to save Sean, but his Uncle is dead before they even arrive.

Jacob Lane is back at Darkbrook, having returned after her last adventure, when a dragon alights in the front yard carrying a bleeding boy in his arms. As curious as ever, the girl races to the infirmary to discover more when she meets Ophelia in bat form on the way. Thanks to Ophelia‘s quick thinking the two show Niklas and his bleeding burden to the infirmary and in turn are asked by Jacob‘s Uncle Lucas to help keep an eye on Sean and make him feel more at home, thus giving them permission to get embroiled in this new mystery.

When cleaning the eighth storage room (read: really large junk drawer) for extra credit, the girls come across a wooden box that should be have been ruined by the damp. The box also has a stinky protection spell on it that prevents the girls from holding it for more than twenty seconds without being plagued by skunk or garlic. They take it to Sean hoping he can help them uncover the secret of the wooden box that drips saltwater and, for some unknown reason, is not completely ruined by it.

Inside they discover a key on a coral chain and three seeds they think might be from a tree, once thought to be extinct, that lives in the depths of the sea. The key leads Jacob on an adventure that produces a mystery that could unlock the secrets of the Selkies and hopefully save them from the invading Finfolk. With lovely twists, pretzels, and turns, the puzzle of this adventure unravels in a delightful romp that is just plain fun to read.
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Katherine Maria Scott for TCM Reviews
"For almost two hundred years, we've kept our people close, away from those who live on the land"

These were the solemn words spoken by the King of the Selkie as he prepared his people for the departure of his only son, to be sent as an ambassador to learn as a student at the magic school of Darkbrook. It seemed a noble gesture, but Sean and the members of the direct royal house knew better; the Selkie were nearly extinct due to years of wars with his father's enemies the Finfolk. As heir to the throne, Sean should be safe among the humans since the Finfolk had no human form and could not step upon land.

Unfortunately, the Selkie were betrayed and not only were Finfolk waiting at the rendezvous point, but men who walked upon the land and shot guns attacked Sean and his uncle.

Sean survived and quickly became friends with Jacob Lane and her friend Ophelia. In a quest to determine who betrayed Sean, the land-walkers, a mystery about Darkbrook school, itself, its origin, emerged and it seems to be connected with one of the rooms in the Library that Jacob and Ophelia have been tasked to clean out. Could this secret lead to the salvation of the Selkie assuming any, aside from Sean, have survived?

The Eighth Room, Book 3 of the Jacob Lane Series, portrays a magically maturing Jacob Lane who is learning to act responsibly. She eagerly befriends a lad who is in need of friendship and her advancing deductive reasoning has her and Ophelia connecting the mystery of Darkbrook's past with Sean's present dilemma. The minor characters were superbly used, particularly Emma, the ghost girl, and her mishaps when dealing with moralistic questions and the misuse of magic.

I also admire Ms. St. Clair's style in handling the complex and changing relationship between the Hounds of the Hunt and their Masters; and especially the dramatics of the stereotypic image of The Hunt that was still present in Darkbrook.

The Jacob Lane books just keep getting better! Although, there a two previous books, The Tenth Ghost and The Ninth Guest, each book can be read as a stand-alone, though I strongly encourage the readers to get all three, because they are excellent reads. All three books are Young Adult Novels that would be enjoyed by older adults as well. I'm hoping Ms. St. Clair plans to write more in the series, meanwhile I plan to read some of her other titles such as: Prince of Shadow, Book 1 of the Shadow Trilogy (YA Novel) and Blood of the Innocents (Adult Novel). Ms. St. Clair has definitely joined the ranks of this reviewer's favorite writers!
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