Tristan Strong Destroys the World (Tristan Strong #2)

by Kwame Mbalia (Author)

Tristan Strong Destroys the World (Tristan Strong #2)
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Tristan Strong

Bestselling author Rick Riordan presents the second book in the New York Times best-selling and award-winning Tristan Strong trilogy by Kwame Mbalia.

Tristan Strong, just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African gods, is suffering from PTSD. But there's no rest for the weary when his grandmother is abducted by a mysterious villain out for revenge. Tristan must return to Alke--and reunite with his loud-mouthed sidekick, Gum Baby--in order to rescue Nana and stop the culprit from creating further devastation. Anansi, now a "web developer" in Tristan's phone, is close at hand to offer advice, and several new folk heroes will aid Tristan in his quest, but he will only succeed if he can figure out a way to sew broken souls back together.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

Well-paced—just like the previous installment—this sequel focuses on themes such as the meaning of diaspora and the effects of trauma, making for a more nuanced and stronger story than the first. The human characters are Black with varying shades of brown skin. Packs a punch. 


An apocalyptic conclusion serves as the dark nadir in the second act of a planned trilogy, setting up an epic conclusion that fans will be eager for.

Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review

In this spectacular follow-up to Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, Mbalia offers a hard-hitting exploration of personal and cultural trauma twined with a well-paced adventure. A month after his return from Alke, Tristan Strong is still learning to embrace his new role as an Anansesem, a storyteller in possession of a Story Box-specifically, a smartphone-that contains the trickster god Anansi. When the malevolent Shamble Man attacks the Strong farm and kidnaps his grandmother, Tristan returns to Alke, which is still rebuilding following the adventures of his last visit-and under attack by the corrupting influence of the Shamble Man, who accurately blames Tristan for the devastation. To save his grandmother and Alke’s inhabitants, Tristan must face his greatest failures head-on. Mbalia again skillfully weaves mythological and folktale threads, along the way expanding his world’s reach, deconstructing Tristan’s role as hero, and examining the communal role of storytelling. Alternately humorous and heartbreaking, this installment sees Tristan entering a dramatic new chapter of his saga that will leave readers eager for more. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 2020 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Mbalia returns with a sequel as impressive and even more compelling, offering all the power-packed goodness of the previous volume, with well-plotted pacing and a quick-witted narrative voice. A stunning conclusion will leave readers breathless and eager for the next installment."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Kwame Mbalia
Kwame Mbalia is the New York Times best-selling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor award. The book was also named to best-of-the-year lists compiled by Publishers Weekly, the Chicago Public Library, and the New York Times. The second book in the trilogy is Tristan Strong Destroys the World, and Tristan Strong Keeps Punching is the third. Kwame also co-wrote Last Gate of the Emperor with Prince Joel Makonnen and edited the instant New York Times best-seller Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood. Kwame lives with his wife and children near Raleigh, North Carolina, where he is currently working several projects, including a new middle grade series. Follow him on Twitter @KSekouM.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2020
Tristan Strong

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