They may have dealt with the whole goblin disaster for the moment, but the problems are not over for the kids of the Spiderwick Chronicles. Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's "Lucinda's Secret" provides a little back history to this brief series, as well as expanding the world of the fairies AND introducing the elusive Great Aunt Lucinda. Also: spooky wood elves.
A fight breaks out among the siblings -- Mallory wants to destroy the Guide, Jared wants to keep it, and Simon is sort of in the middle. To find out more about the fairies and the Guide, the kids go to visit their Great-Aunt Lucinda Spiderwick, and she's more than happy to fill them in on some of the backstory of the fairies and the Guide.
But things go wrong the moment they go home. Thimbletack has stolen the Guide, and while searching for it the kids discover a map of the nearby areas -- which turn out to have dangerous, mesmerizing fairy creatures lurking there. To get what they want, they will have to find the elves who dwell in the forest... but the elves might be just as dangerous as all the other creatures.
The "Spiderwick Chronicles" seems to have an unseen checklist of supernatural creatures to go through -- and in "Lucinda's Secret" we've got phookas and forest elves that are elegant, eerie and very dangerous. What's more, Black and DiTerlizzi unveil some new surprises for their audiences, including a major villain that is presumably going to loom large in the rest of the series.
As usual, Black's prose is a delicate shadowed thing, draped lightly in leaves and filled with sparkling moments ("The fruit smelled of fresh grass and honey, and was enclosed in a papery skin, but underneath Jared could see the red flesh"). And DiTerlizzi's old-fasioned ink drawings have the right mixture of delicacy and otherworldliness to match Black's work.
The twins seem to be a bit more attuned to the fairy world in this book, and are figuring out the loopholes to slip through. Mallory is a bossy pain, though her care for the gryphon Byron and the unicorn is rather touching. The most fascinating character is undoubtedly Great Aunt Lucinda, an aged lady who has spent most of her life seeing (and sometimes being tormented by) faerie creatures, and can't even eat human food any longer.
"Lucinda's Secret" introduces some new supernatural creatures and new plot twists to the Spiderwick Chronicles -- it's a bit short on plot, but a nice middle volume.