Book Two in The Companions Quartet
by Julia Golding
US publication date: October 2007
review copy courtesy of Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
Connie Lionheart is no ordinary member of the Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures. She is the only universal companion -- she is able to bond with all of the mythical creatures (dragons, pegasi, wood sprites, sirens, etc.) that live secretly in our world. To protect the mythical creatures, Society members protect the last wild spots on earth in which the creatures can survive. In the Gorgon's Gaze, that wild spot is an ancient wood (including a huge oak rumored to be the tree where Merlin was imprisoned by Nimue) threatened by a road to the new oil refinery from Book One, Secret of the Sirens.
The story is a rollercoaster of YAYs and UH-OHs that keeps the pages turning:
YAY! Connie's new companion will be a rare golden baby dragon.
UH-OH! Connie's great aunt is going to isolate Connie from nature and from the society members to "cure" her of her "sickness."
YAY! Two unknown-to-her-aunt members of the Society manage to get Connie out of the house and to Society Headquarters.
UH-OH! Mr. Codderington at the Society Headquarters is surely a bad guy. Watch out, Connie!
YAY! Argand, the baby dragon, comes to visit Connie.
UH-OH! Col's (Connie's friend and fellow society member, companion to pegusi) mother is companion to a gorgon.
YAY! Uncle Hugh unknowingly gives Connie information on how a Universal can protect herself from hostile mythical creatures. (One of Connie's ancestors was a Universal, and Uncle Hugh gives Connie some of her papers from a trunk of family heirlooms.)
UH-OH! Aunt Godiva is really mad when she finds out what Uncle Hugh gave Connie and she cracks down on Connie like never before. At the same time, Col is taken by Kullervo, the ultimate evil. (Kullervo is Connie's Voldemort -- her true companion. Her good and his evil are intimately intertwined. "He was part of her -- and she was part of him.")
YAY! With the help of Skylark, Col's pegasus, Connie goes to the rescue of Col.
UH-OH! It's a trap! Connie is taken by Kullervo!
You'll have to read the book to find out how it all turns out. I predict that the new character, a boy nicknamed "Rat," will feature prominently in the next book.
Here's my review of the first book in the series, Secret of the Sirens.