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Across the Great Barrier - Patricia C. Wrede I wasn't a huge fan of The Thirteenth Child, but it was an easy and interesting enough read. I hoped the sequel would improve upon the first and really find its voice (which was also a point of the first that I felt was lacking), but it didn't. It did accomplish one thing for me though, I've decided I won't be reading any more of this series. This is actually pretty disappointing for me as I quite enjoyed Wrede's other works--this series just wasn't for me. This series takes place in an Alternate-Universe North America during the colonizing of the West and the settlers are pretty much the same as ours. There's different names for places, and there's no Canada, but it's pretty much the same outside of the magic. Except and this is where it's quite controversial: there's no aboriginal people to speak of! I would like to give Wrede some benefit of the doubt here, but there was no way that this was an accidental decision. I could not let this point go and it did ruin any suspension of disbelief I may have had going until then. Also the blatant disregard for any life that wasn't human really bothered me. These people would go on their exploratory missions and simply kill on sight. Most of the time it wasn't even in self-defense they just wanted specimens. I really hate this mentality and will never forgive it; you enter wild places knowing the dangers that doesn't give you any right to go on killing sprees. If that's "the only way" then leave it be!Shouldn't AU be treading new ground and not falling in the traps that our own history has disgraced us with? Or if you're going to repeat the same mistakes, shouldn't there be a moral or commentary there? Not some barely there flippant entry. Aside from that this just wasn't a good book; It was pretty dull, the characters had no spark, and I can't even say what the story is supposed to be.