Two days ago, I posted the book review for Along Came a Wolf, the first novel in the Yellow Hoods series by author Adam Dreece. After making the mistake of moving on to a new book before I reviewed Breadcrumb Trail, I settled in to read the Yellow Hoods sequel for the second time in as many weeks.
With this book review of Breadcrumb Trail, I also will address the first Yellow Hoods companion tale, Snappy & Dashing–which is set between the second and third books in the series.
The third book in the series, All the King’s-Men, is due for release on April fifteenth of this year.
In this second installment of the Yellow Hoods series by author Adam Dreece, Breadcrumb Trail expands Dreece’s emergent steampunk world in extraordinary ways. His vibrant fictional world is set at the nascence of steampunk technology, and familiar nursery rhymes and fairy tales are kicked into high gear with great results. While Breadcrumb Trail is a grittier tale than Along Came a Wolf, all of the elements in the Yellow Hoods series mature with its readership. The stakes rise for Tee and her friends and family, the plot is more intense, and Dreece’s storycraft keeps up with it all.
Breadcrumb Trail starts in the middle of intense action, with a battle and a cliffhanger where the life of one of the Yellow Hoods is in jeopardy. Then, the story rolls back four months to the winter solstice and the start of the events which lead to the cliffhanger. In Freland, the village of Minette and the town of Mineau have decided to unite their solstice celebration. Tee and Elly both turned thirteen in the intervening two months since the climactic end of Along Came a Wolf, and the three Yellow Hoods–Tee, Elly, and Richy–have spent that time in-between acting as a force for good in the forest community of Minette. Life appears to be settling back to normal after the events of Along Came a Wolf, but a new adventure has only just begun. Benevolent allies and sinister foes–in the forests above Minette and out in the greater world of Eorthe–have turned their attentions toward the small communities of Minette and Mineau; it’s up to Tee, Elly, Richy, and their new friends to intervene.
Breadcrumb Trail is a more complex tale than Along Came a Wolf, and every aspect of the story shows that evolution. New characters and settings are introduced, and Adam Dreece paints them all with a rich, narrative style. Outstanding mysteries from Along Came a Wolf are answered, and surprising developments arise concerning the core characters from the first novel in the Yellow Hoods series. As a sequel, Breadcrumb Trail is a powerhouse of young adult fiction, with Along Came a Wolf as its introduction to author Adam Dreece’s wonderfully immersive fictional world. Multiple story lines are woven together masterfully in Breadcrumb Trail. As the tension builds, the story draws the reader along to the novel’s climax.
While flashbacks and internal narratives are still present, Adam Dreece’s segues and narrative have gone from good to great. The cast of characters expands dramatically in Breadcrumb Trail, yet Dreece takes the time to make these new characters as compelling as the core characters from Along Came a Wolf. New inventions abound; all of the inventors are unique and driven in their special ways. The story flows smoothly, though Breadcrumb Trail is not a novel to be rushed through. Important details can be missed, details which can diminish a reader’s full enjoyment of this thrilling tale. The clues are present; Dreece does not miss a beat in Breadcrumb Trail. This is a novel to be savored.
This sequel is not as light an adventure as Along Came a Wolf, which I considered was a read for eight-to-twelve-year-olds. The series’s steampunk roots show, and it adopts a darker, classic Brothers Grimm quality in its second book. I consider Breadcrumb Trail’s target audience to be eleven-to-adult, still equally smart. Though Breadcrumb Trail stands on its own, I recommend reading Along Came a Wolf as an introduction to the world of Eorthe and its core characters.
Adam Dreece has found his singular, narrative voice in Breadcrumb Trail. His first novel, Along Came a Wolf, is good: its setting, themes, and genre blend are intriguing; its characters are interesting; and its plot is solid. Dreece’s narrative in Breadcrumb Trail, however, elevates the Yellow Hoods series from a good read to a must-read and must-reread series. The upcoming April 15 release of the third installment of the Yellow Hoods series, All the King’s-Men, cannot come soon enough.
Five gears out of five, a must-read with a very high reread factor.
While readers wait for the April 15 release of All the King’s-Men (Preorder your Kindle copy now!), Adam Dreece has offered up a companion tale. In Snappy & Dashing‘s preamble, Dreece writes:
This story takes place after Breadcrumb Trail (The Yellow Hoods, Book 2) and parallels the very beginning of All the King’s-Men (The Yellow Hoods, Book 3). It has been written to provide no spoilers for Book 3, although reading it before (or after) Book 3 will enrich the story for the reader . . . and Book 4’s as well.
I don’t want to spoil major plot developments in Breadcrumb Trail by giving too much detail in this short review, but this companion tale follows a character introduced in Breadcrumb Trail: Richelle Pieman. The Yellow Hoods aren’t in this companion story; it focuses only on Richelle and the Pieman family.
Weighing in at less than 40 pages, Snappy & Dashing is a side trip on the series’s greater journey. The short tale switches between Richelle’s current dilemma and her past, easing between both very smoothly. It’s entertaining and adds depth to the world in which Dreece has set his Yellow Hoods series. Well worth the read, if one wants to know more about the Pieman family.