Thunderbird: Book Two, by Sonia Nimr, for Timeslipe Tuesday

In the first Thunderbird book, which I reviewed last fall) by Sonia Nimr we met Noor, an orphaned Palestinian girl who finds she must save the world from a collapsing chaos of demonic intrusion into our world by finding four phoenix feathers.  The catch is that the phoenix only sheds one feather per immolation, and immolations only happen once every 500 years or so, so she must travel back through time with the help of a djinn in cat form to find them.  The first book was good, but the second book (November 22, 2022 by University of Texas Press) is even better.  With all the set up in place, the reader is plunged into a  really gripping time travel back to Jerusalem of the Crusades.  

Noor arrives outside of the 12th century Jerusalem dazed and confused.  Almost immediately she is captured and taken, blindfolded, to the secret home of  the resistance to the Crusaders who have seized the city, who think she might be a spy.  Fortunately they believe her story when she finally brings herself to try to tell the truth (made more convincing by her talking cat comrade).  Her own quest of the phoenix feather gets slightly derailed when she throws herself into the plans of the resistance to humiliate the crusader overlord, and save the precious library that he plans to burn.

It is a lovely mix of the magical (the boundaries between our world and the supernatural world are starting to slip....) and the historical; very satisfying both as middle grade time travel and as plucky girl adventure!  It's a fairly short, tightly written book, with humor alongside of tension and heartfelt emotion, and it's a vivid portrayal of this particular moment in time. Of course "let's save the precious library!" is a plot I am always there for, and fortunately I wasn't kept in too much desperate tension....

I am very much looking forward to volume 3, which sadly isn't out right now.....

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