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Return to Cardamom (Adventures Of Caramel…
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Return to Cardamom (Adventures Of Caramel Cardamom) (Volume 2)

by Julie Anne Grasso

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Caramel, her family, friends and all elves everywhere in the Galaxy are called to action as a disaster hits the planet - all the cardamom trees have dropped their pods, causing them to die – and that means economic ruin. How could this have happened? Caramel is sure it’s not a natural phenomenon. It smacks of vengeance, and the person most likely to want that is Alexander222, the villain of the first book in the series. But how can she prove it?

Return to Cardamom picks up from the first in the series, [book:Escape From The Forbidden Planet|16060026, showing that all was not happily ever after, after all. There are a lot of names, places and modes of transport to get to grips with if it is your first encounter with this series, but if not, you soon meet up with old friends. As with the first book, just as you think it’s all over… a whole load of things get much worse. Julie Grasso twists and turns her plot so that your mind is performing mental agility tests along with Caramel’s own mind-games.

Although I sometimes have difficulty visualising the Planet Cardamom, Ms Grasso’s descriptions of other planets, and the biology, medicine and computer science involved in the story, are first rate. There are enough different sciences in this series to keep the biggest geek entertained – and I’m quite a geek!

Caramel and her friends are great characters and both boys and girls have someone to identify with. It’s a rollicking story with some lovely twists at the end and some heartwarming messages hidden deep enough not to produce any ‘yuk!’ noises from those requiring sterner stuff. Something for everyone, wrapped in a whole that is as sweet as honeycake but with nerves of steel! A great read!

I received an Advance Review Copy free of charge in return for my honest review. ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
Return to Cardamom is more exciting than Escape from the Forbidden Planet, which was a very good debit novel. The adults in Caramel’s life ignore her when she suggests the culprit to the lost pods of cardamom. Adults can become myopic about “adult events” and ignore a younger voice. Caramel does not let that stifle her, and with the help of friends, she decides to check her hutch: Alexander222 and Isabel are the culprits. The loss of an entire cardamom crop, and the resultant loss of the contract to supply the entire intergalactic galaxy with this vital energy source, could destroy the Planet Cardamom’s economy and in turn the planet. The stakes have definitely increased in book 2.

Ms. Grasso’s writing was good for a debut in Escape from the Forbidden Planet—which is Earth for those not having read book 1. Her abilities did not rest there. This story is tighter, the plot easier to follow, and the ending had two twists, both surprises. One thing that bugs me with Return to Cardamom: Caramel Cardamom is perfect. She is the hero and as such, she pulls off some mighty fantastic stunts (no spoilers). Doing all of that as a disabled individual makes them all the more spectacular. My problem with Caramel is she does everything correctly, making her inaccessible and difficult to identify with. Return to Cardamom has a few twists that will turn your head and the extended ending involves a major plague on Earth.

Kids who love fantasy and new worlds that clash with our own will love Return to Cardamom. This is the perfect book for a rainy day, lounging by the pool, or reading by flashlight under the bed blankets. The 156 pages make for a fast read, but not one word is wasted in this second volume of The Adventures of Caramel Cardamom.

Originally reviewed at Kid LIt Reviews: http://kid-lit-reviews.com/2013/08/05/review-return-to-cardamom-by-julie-grasso/ ( )
  smmorris | Aug 12, 2013 |
And the adventure continues! Instead of life returning to sleepy normal on Cardamom, the planet is now experiencing loads of activity. Cardamom Crystal is in huge demand as a power source for intergalactic technology. Caramel develops her skills in tree tending and healer classes and is keen to get better at computer control. The dangers of Alexander222 are over … or are they? Disaster strikes when the entire cardamom crop drops before due time, the plants are traumatized, and Caramel has to accompany her mother to the tree canopy to find out what is going on. If Cardamom does not meet its quota, Alexander222 and his sidekick Lex will put forward the new biosynthetic hybrid, Cardocryst, to the Intergalactic Council. This is something the inhabitants of Cardamom cannot afford to see happen because they will lose their livelihood.
Once at the tree canopy, Caramel discovers she has the ability to understand the plants and also to soothe them. She manages to encourage them to start producing a new crop. The planet might just make the quota after all, if the elves can keep the plants safe. Amazingly, the plants give her a clue: they were unable to smell the identity of the saboteur, meaning he or she is an elf! Caramel’s ideas on what happened to the plants—Alexander 222 and her Aunt Isabel are at the bottom of this—are dismissed as conspiracy theories, but once her mom, Arianna, is kidnapped, it’s up to Caramel and her friends to save the day … again!
Author Julie Anne Grasso knows how to keep the action and the energy going as Caramel and her mates plot and then execute a rescue plan. In between all the Cardamom-based science and techno talk, are the real themes of life that readers are beginning to understand. Doing the right thing, being loyal to friends and family, trying even when you might not succeed, believing in yourself, and consciousness of environmental issues are themes that should be instilled in kids at an early age. Caramel’s courage and principles help young readers to understand what it means to jump into the fray and do your very best. Wonderful revelations at the end of the book restore Caramel’s (and readers) faith in justice and make for a beautiful ending. I loved the first two books and can’t wait to read what the author and Caramel have in store in the final installment of this captivating trilogy. ( )
  FionaRobynIngram | Jul 23, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0987372521, Paperback)

Life is sweet for Caramel and things are finally getting back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be for a telepathic elf who can train trees and control computers, but she soon finds life on Cardamom is not all cupcakes and apple cider. A saboteur is hiding in the rainforest canopy, and the elves’ precious cardamom export has been wiped out. Caramel is certain it’s another trick of Alexander222 and her Aunt Isabel, but no one will believe her, and the clock is ticking. She must expose the saboteur in time to save the crop or the Elves of Cardamom will lose their livelihood. Caramel won’t rest until her theory is proven. While she is on the hunt, she makes a shocking discovery, one that will change everything. Follow Caramel’s gripping adventures in the exciting sequel to “Escape From The Forbidden Planet.” Suitable for Children aged 9-12.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:29 -0400)

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