Alone: The Clan of the Shark (Book 3) – Fabien Vehlmann

4 out of 5

Yeesh, Vehlmann and artist Bruno Gazzotti are dismantling every YA author’s attempts to write the ultimate “kids go it alone” adventure series with the consistent greatness – surprises and thrills, smart dialogue, interesting characters, fantastic visuals – found in each entry of Alone.

Again continuing from where we left off, our roving pack of chitlins hop in their bus to outrun a pursuing pack of dogs, being ultimately saved by emissaries from ‘The Clan of the Shark,’ a tribe of younguns holed up in a water park, led by the interestingly stoic Saul.  Of course, this seeming boon is called into question by the stringent rules Saul holds over all his residents, but Vehlmann amps things up in insane and frightening ways, masterfully dotting the brief moments we get with Saul with just enough to give him a believable background that would result in his behavior.

Nonetheless, Alone isn’t a series where understanding equals a happy ending: Dodzi and crew work their way into a scuffle, but some new information is procured that sets the stage for book 4.

The Clan of the Shark somewhat jumps too far ahead in its world building, as Saul’s troupe are zombified followers in a fashion that feels a little too ‘neat,’ but on the whole, the book’s pacing is consistent – all of it is big picture compressed to needed moments – so while it’s a bit much to swallow, it’s not especially out of place.  Otherwise, this is another exciting, fascinating step forward for the series.