Return of the Evening Star


THE OFFICIAL PLOT: A mysterious hospital deep in the Oregon woods is sending marauding ambulances into the countryside, retrunofeveningstarlooking for new patients. Mowing down anything in their path, the deadly ambulance drivers have forced the people and animals of the land into hiding. Twelve-year-old Chloe Ashton has returned to Fairfax and is desperate to find her mother. Together with her friends—the magical cook Mrs. Goodweather, carpenter Brisco Knot, and clever white rat Shakespeare—she hatches a plan to enter the hospital and stop the bloodshed. At the same time a rumor reaches them from the east: Silas the Stargazer is coming, and he is bringing an army. An animal army.

MY CRITIQUE: The sequel to the critically acclaimed BRIDGE OF THE GODS stands well on it’s own. The author does a superb job filling in what led to this Oregon town and young Chloe Ashton into such a dire situation.  While book one left many dangling plot points, book two covers them all and delivers the results in a glorious climatic finish.

The prologue sets the stage: a conversation between constellations Cygnus and Scorpius about the dangers coming to Earth. From there the story is sure to challenge young readers. With many characters, both human and animal, along with a plot that emerges in different locales, this tale takes full concentration. The overriding theme is how everything and everyone in nature is connected. We need each other to survive.

The animals are portrayed in all their majestic beauty from the silver horses to King Auberon, a gigantic bear. They are rightfully skeptical of working with humans given what they know, but there are unique individuals like Chloe who has a gift of speaking to them with understanding. Her love of creatures and natures shines through to the end.

Find a quiet spot this summer, preferably outside, and escape into a fantasy with a mythical quality found in very few middle grade books.




  1. You know you have a great character when after finishing the book I hoped Chloe would return in another story. Her upcoming years hold many plot possibilities.
  2. Rebuilding a bridge, the Bridge of the Gods, was the perfect way to show how this one task could help heal the rift between animals and humans.
  3. Magic is all around us. Not in our phones, but in nature and the world. We just need to stop once in awhile to listen and look.
  4. Chloe’s love for her mother and the home she once had was touching. She also has many friends from the past who come to help.
  5. I’m not a big fan of rats but darling Shakespeare had me liking them a bit more.


Award-winning author and illustrator Diane Rios lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Her debut novel, Bridge of the Gods, won the 2017 silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Pre-Teen Fantasy, was a finalist for the USA Best Book Award in Children’s Fiction, and was a finalist for a 2017 Oregon Book Award for Children’s Literature. A long-time Oregon artist and musician, Rios wrote and illustrated the picture book Dizzy’s Dream. Rios spent three years working at the world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s Books in Portland, where she greatly increased her own children’s book collection and was inspired to write the Silver Mountain Series.


I received a copy of this book from SHE WRITES PRESS

If you have time, please comment below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Return of the Evening Star

  1. Paperbacks do so poorly in the library that I only buy things that are hardback or prebinds. This doesn’t seem to come in either. There are so many fantasy books out, but this one looks interesting.

  2. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This series sounds amazing! I always enjoy reading fantasy books with vivid, complex worlds, so I’ll have to try this! Thanks so much for the review!

  3. This sounds like a fascinating magical world. Not sure how I missed hearing abut the first book but I’l try to check it out.

  4. Is this for middle graders?? Wow! It sounds fascinating. First time I’ve heard of deadly ambulance drivers forcing people into hiding. It sounds dark. But, I did enjoy your comments about nature.

    • I’d say upper middle grade. The emphasis is less on the violence and more on bringing nature and people together. Thanks for commenting and I’m looking forward to more of your reviews.

  5. That cover is gorgeous. I’m not much of a fantasy reader, but this one sounds like it might be interesting. Thanks for the review.

  6. Any book that can make you like rats… Hmm. Interesting.

  7. I don’t usually read fantasy, but I did appreciate your Like #3: “Magic is all around us. Not in our phones, but in nature and the world. We just need to stop once in awhile to listen and look.” Thanks for sharing this one for MMGM.

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