Title: Escape from the Island of AquariusThe Cooper Kids # 2 - Escape from the Island of Aquarius
Author: Frank Peretti
Illustrator: 160
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★

The Cooper Kids return!

The Story.

When a man was found bobbing on a hand-made raft in the Pacific Ocean, there was little on his person to identify him. The only clue he held was a tiny piece of paper with the signature ‘Adam MacKenzie’ on it.

But this is a name the Coopers know! Adam MacKenzie was a missionary who began traveling amongst the South Sea islands several years ago – and disappeared without a trace. The Coopers agree to set out on an expedition of recovery in the hopes of reestablishing contact with Mr. MacKenzie.

But when the three arrive on the Island of Aquarius, they find both MacKenzie and a group of thriving Europeans living in apparent tranquility. They are more than happy to let the Coopers spend the night – and to rush them on their way in the morning.

The Coopers believe that MacKenzie has something he wishes to hide – most likely something tied up with this mysterious ‘Moro-Kunda’ which supposedly strikes certain individuals and drives them mad. Can the Coopers find out what is really at the heart of the mystery of Aquarius?

Discussion.

This is my second experience with the Cooper Kids, and I preferred it to the former. The plot itself was not necessarily more exciting – The Door in the Dragon’s Throat had plenty of excitement – but I felt the ending held together more and required less of a leap to accept.

As I mentioned in my review of The Door in the Dragon’s Throat, the solution of that story lies in the supposition that a host of demons lay behind the door, a door which would one day open and usher in the end of the world. Escape from the Island of Aquarius did not require nearly so supernatural an explanation, although Peretti does insist on once again using premillenial terms to predict the end of the world on the last page. But the story itself doesn’t require that ending comment.

Here’s how it works. The Coopers arrive on the island and meet Mr. MacKenzie. Mackenzie exhibits a disturbing degree of belief in pagan superstitions – claiming that the island has powers and that ancient curses are at work on it – and a surprising lack of belief in Christ. After witnessing a man fall prey to the ‘curse’ of the island, the Coopers become suspicious and begin to cast about for clues. What they find is that MacKenzie is not MacKenzie at all, but a power-hungry egomaniac who believes in his own godhood and manufactures circumstances to convince others of his powers. All ‘supernatural’ elements (i.e. witchcraft) are explained naturally.

Children may find some of the scenes intense, especially when Lila is captured and thrown into a pit as sacrifice. There she has a close encounter with an enormous serpentine beast, but she is rescued. Later, an entire group of people is stuck in a cavern which is slowly filling with water. This, too, may be scary.

Conclusion. I liked this on better than The Door in the Dragon’s Throat – I’ll keep reading this series!

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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