This New Old World – a review of Expanding Cracks by Ben Pick

We’re continuing the Into the Void series! With a promising start from the first book I was intrigued to see where this would go. Those Stranger Things vibes do continue in this series, and I knew that from the start, I looked forward to see what more would come from this book – the second book so far in this series.

Derek, Rachel and Tracy have gained celebrity status in their hometown as defenders from magical monster attacks; it seems the monster Derek summoned when he first got his powers and defeated weeks ago is not the only thing threatening their town. Shadow monsters have broken through the void to attack anyone that stands in its away. And that’s not the only thing worrying the trio, with training pulling them away from their normal lives and impacting their friendships and grades.

Pick nailed interpersonal conflict in this novel and I was here for it. I’ve lately had a sweet tooth for this sour patch in narratives, and this book satisfied. Everyone at war with each other as they decide their present and their future… It was addictive to read. Especially with how well Pick understood the motives and angles of each character in play. You couldn’t tell whose side to be on, and those are among my favourite interpersonal conflicts. Because you no longer care who’s right and you just want to have everyone make up.

I liked the take on contemporary fantasy where the magic gets known by everyone. While the secret keeping sides are fun, it was intriguing to see the cultural impacts of a small town knowing magic for the first time and the magical knowledge expanding throughout. From the heroism facing Rachel, Derek and Tracy to the systems in place to protect against monstrosities. The building of this world as it changes was fascinating.

This plot felt very high and low stakes at the same time. The balance of these two plots was masterful as the characters navigated this new world together. I was constantly wondering where these worlds would collide, how interpersonal and external forces would clash and how everything affected each other. It was the perfect chance to explore this new world that was starting to get at risk. The fun and games in the hero’s journey if you will.

With all these forces now together, I’m excited to see how it goes coming forward.

Expanding Cracks gets a score of 4.5/5. *insert Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain here*

Sign Up for my Monthly Newsletter!

Get monthly updates on my writing progress, be the first to know of any big announcements, and get access to FREE resources including my guide on making your author branding.

Leave a Reply