The more I continue to reread The Secrets of Droon novels by Tony Abbott from my childhood, the more I grow to feel as though nothing is ever really happening in these books. In a way, they’re like cheapened Narnia books mixed in with some underdeveloped, but very much remind me of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, characters. At times, it literally feels as though the majority of the book is some sort of filler with absolutely minuscule moments in which the plot is moved along. Of course, none of that really leads you anywhere and so you have to read the next installment to get any progressing story. The Mysterious Island, thus far, is the worst offender of this.
As I think back on this book, I genuinely cannot come up with a single aspect of it that was necessary to the overarching plot of the series. I mean, honestly, it feels like NOTHING happened. Ultimately, the only thing that actually happens in book three is that Sparr is once again trying to re-steal the magical Red Eye of Dawn gemstone. He causes their ship to crash and the group to become shipwrecked on the island of a creature he has enslaved. They have to recover the gem and then go straight back to what they were doing before Sparr attacked them.
So, in the end, this book is nothing more than the equivalent of a filler episode.
Nothing happened, and then they all go home again.
Speaking of, I am genuinely baffled by the fact that these characters constantly need to return to their world time and time again. They come, spend a few hours in Droon, and then head home again only to return for the next book and pick back up right where they left off. It’s almost a weird allegory for reading a book. When you pick it up, you delve into the world and when you put it down you return home. Still, why bother with this in a children’s book?
I find myself feeling the same complaints as before about each of the characters.
I still don’t feel like I could tell you much of anything definitive about the characters themselves. There are still small instances of feeling that I can see Neal as a giant goofball and Julie as a smart girl, but that’s about it. Eric is developed even less now, simply being the nice and eager adventurer. Galen is a very stereotypical wizard and Max is just a sidekick around to help when he can.
It’s wild to me that I can spend more and more time with these characters and still feel that I do not know them at all.
What’s the point, then?
So, book three isn’t all that great and could honestly be skipped without losing anything. That said, this series continues to be an easy read for young readers and thus does continue to provide an action-filled story for them to keep themselves engaged. What this book series continues to do well is written action. And that, alone, does well to keep the interest of young readers. Even so, book three was kind of pointless in the overall plot.