Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm is the second book in Disney’s Middle Grade Adventure series, Society of Explorers and Adventurers. I read the first book, Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl, just before its release last year, at the start of 2022. I absolutely adored it.
Unsurprisingly, Kagawa was able to capture my attention right away, as well as my heart, with her fun characters and pulse-pounding action. The vivid imagery can’t be beat.
As a side note, if you are unaware, Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers, known as S.E.A., is a fictional organization sprinkled about various attractions at Disney Theme Parks. Google it!
The organization is said to be comprised of scientists, travelers and researchers, who traverse the globe continuing to explore the world’s oceans and exotic lands.
In this novel, Shinji is officially a member of S.E.A., along with his friend, Lucy Hightower and her mechanical mouse, Tinker. They are residing at S.E.A. headquarters, where Shinji is working to understand his new powers and struggling a bit to grow into them.
Before he is able to do that though, S.E.A. has another potential adventure on their hands and Shinji and Lucy are included as part of the team. Let’s go!
A sunken ship, thought to belong to the long-extinct Natia people, has been discovered in the South Pacific. It’s a race against the clock as the members of S.E.A. try to get there before their rival, the evil Hightower Corporation, can find it and plunder the artifacts.
Even though the kids are traveling along with veteran S.E.A. members, like Oliver Ocean and Phoebe Mystic, nothing goes as planned. It’s obstacle after obstacle as the team struggles to reach their final oceanic destination.
After Shinji accidentally awakens another guardian, a giant mythological storm boar, wild weather released by this boar threatens to ravage the coast of California.
Shinji needs to learn to control his powers and figure out how to appease the storm boar before its too late, but the odds seem to be stacked against him. Stress!!!
Kagawa knows how to deliver an entertaining sequel. Almost everything that could happen on this adventure does. There’s an erupting volcano, a nearly sinking ship, breaking into Hightower Headquarters, fighting off robot guards and flying into a storm, to name a few.
The humor Kagawa brings to the story too makes it charming and fun. I love these characters and it was interesting learning more about them, as well as more about the organization. We also meet some new characters and learn more about Hightower.
I thought the conclusion to this was heart-warming and it left off in a great spot to continue on with the series. I am really hoping for a third book.
I definitely recommend this series to Readers who enjoy an engaging Middle Grade Adventure. You cannot go wrong with Kagawa’s writing. Top shelf, beginning to end.
Additionally, the audiobook is fabulously narrated, so I do recommend that as a format. It was how I read it and I felt like I was there with these characters. I was at the edge of my seat the whole time!
Thank you to the publisher, Disney Hyperion and Disney Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. This was a ton of fun.
I love Shinji so much. He has all the qualities one would want in a hero. It fills my heart!