I found The Golden Spiral to be a thoughtful and engaging sequel to The Hourglass Door. Although The Hourglass Door began somewhat slowly in order to set up the action and the characters, The Golden Spiral picked up right where The Hourglass Door ended and took off from there. Assumptions were made that you had read the first book, that you were familiar with the characters and the storyline, and that you knew exactly what was going on. This is definitely not a stand-alone book; you must read the first book in order to understand the events in this book.
Dante is stuck behind the Door and Abby must built a new one in order to get him back, but she needs help to do and must trust someone she never thought she would. In the meantime, Zo is now more powerful than ever before and is wreaking havoc on her life, changing her past timeline, shifting her past, altering it so that people and family she knew and loved are no longer in her present. Abby has to work hard and fast to prevent Zo from altering any more of her past, to prevent the barriers of time from breaking down further. What I found absolutely fascinating in all this were the philosophical discussions surrounding the past and how one choice from your past can alter your future course so drastically. Abby asks Dante at one point, why can't he just go back and fix her past and he answers, he doesn't know what choice it was that her parents made that altered the future so drastically and he was afraid that if he changed one thing, it would alter the future even more. It really made me think about all of my choices I've made in the past, good and bad, and how if I would have changed one thing, how different my life right now would have been. It boggles the mind to think of the paradoxes that creates.
The world that is created in this novel is highly imaginative and unique. The river, the bank, the hourglass door, the time paradoxes and the time travelling allows for a lot of suspense and mystery. The action moves more quickly in this novel than in the first, with many plot twists and turns. You barely had time to breathe before something else happened. Ms. Mangum's writing style is fresh and creative, drawing the reader into her characters, allowing us to really see what they are thinking and feeling. I really enjoyed how Valerie's character developed, and how secrets were revealed through the use of pictures and stories; I was never sure of Valerie's loyalty and this kept me interested and intrigued all the way through this novel. She is such a fascinating character.
The Golden Spiral is a fun, compelling, and engaging sequel to The Hourglass Door. The characters continue to be well-developed and intriguing, with many dark and interesting secrets, secrets that make them unsure whom they should trust. I am definitely looking forward to book 3, The Forgotten Locket, when it is released in summer 2011.
The Golden Spiral was provided to me by Shadow Mountain as an advanced reader's edition.