The king captures the twins and refuses to release them unless they defeat the evil witch who has stolen his body. Accepting the challenge, Ella and Owen head deeper into Terror Swamp. Ghosts, ghouls and goblins await at every turn.
Will Ella and Owen be able to conquer the clever witch and maintain their freedom? Will they ever get back to Dragon Patch?
While I love Halloween stories, this book didn't quite deliver. I felt that Ella and Owen's characters were poorly developed. Neither one had his/her own characteristics that made him/her unique. The content of the story mostly consisted of the twins arguing. I would have liked to have seen more character development in addition to the twins actually working together to regain their freedom.
I also found the other characters to be a bit flat. I would have loved for the characters to have more original names than "Pumpkin King" and "Rainbow Sparkles." It appears that Kent was attempting to be humorous, but I feel that the story doesn't hit the mark.
The plot was not very gripping nor spooky. I feel that the story comes to a conclusion quickly with very haphazard resolutions to all of the characters' issues. What I like the least about this book is the fact that it ends on a cliffhanger. I purchased the book because I love Halloween stories, however, this is apparently the fourth book in the series and you cannot read them out of order.
Since I have not read any of the other books, I have no idea how the twins came to leave Dragon Patch and become stuck in Terror Swamp. The ending of this story forces the reader to buy subsequent books to find the true conclusion to the story. I feel that this is a poor way to write a series. If the books need to be read in chronological order, the book cover or the introductory page should state this so that new readers to the series are not caught off guard.
I did enjoy Iryna Bodnaruk's comical illustrations. Ella and Owen and their ghastly new friends are humerously drawn with fine detail. I also loved the comic book style vignettes featured on several pages.
Overall, this is a lighthearted read that is suitable for children ages 6-9.