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The Hidden Land (The Secret Country #2)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  694 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
The five cousins are still trapped in the Secret Country, and must play their parts. When the King is poisoned, Ted-Prince Edward-must take the throne, even though he has no idea how to rule a country, battle magic, or inspire followers. Soon enough he will have to do all three because the Country is on the verge of war with the treacherous Dragon King. ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 13th 2003 by Firebird (first published July 1st 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,326)
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Cara M
Mar 22, 2013 Cara M rated it it was amazing
"That talent of mine that in my country turns to sorcery, in yours turns to this making up." (italics mine).

Essentially, this and the Secret Country should have been one book. I would have still been furious with it for being desperately and deliciously subtle, but the jarring feeling of the beginning where the pov is a little less coherent wouldn't have happened. Also, they are entirely unsatisfying apart. Not that they are entirely satisfying together. But a lot of that has to do with, well, t
Feb 28, 2016 Annie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I actually liked this sequel better than the first book, but you absolutely must read the Secret Country beforehand. Dean does give a brief introduction/recap in the first few chapters, but it's hard to explain what you're missing... characterization, I think. It's hard to really understand Fence and Randolph, in particular, without having read the Secret Country first. And the whole nebulous concept of the Secret Country vs the real world and how the children's imagination interacts with it and ...more
Dec 24, 2015 Maki rated it really liked it
The Hidden Land takes the premise of the first book, and makes everything bigger, the way a good sequel should. The stakes were higher, and the children were thrown entirely out of their elements - Ruth and Ted especially.

All of them are so completely in over their heads that their main goal is no longer to go along for the ride, but to get out of the Secret Country as soon as humanly possible. The game kind of loses its charm when it ceases to be a game.

Where the first book focused more on the
Feb 18, 2014 Grace rated it really liked it
Well. This happened.

Ok, so this book very easily built on the first book. Dean is amazing. The plot is deceptively simple, yet you feel this sense of foreboding… only you don’t know where from. Too many subtleties for my little brain, maybe? Sub plots upon sub plots. Again, maybe that’s just me. It just seems like all of the pieces are put in front of you, only you can’t figure out what you’re looking at.

My favorite character (who is no longer Patrick, who I find quite irritating now) didn’t di
Sep 03, 2014 ribbonknight rated it really liked it
I can definitely see how this & The Secret Country were originally published as a single tome, & it probably reads better that way? Regardless, I liked this one just as much as the first. In addition to Dean's prose & her commentary on daily life ("the [people] melted away around them as cats leave the room when people began to quarrel"). I've been saying this a lot lately, but I was glad to find this & The Secret Country used so that I can reread them many times in the future. & ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Feb 25, 2016 Shawn Thrasher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The middle child to The Secret Country trilogy, this is certainly not as strong as book as the first one; it's also somewhat shorter, which makes me wonder why it wasn't just tacked on to the first one. Unlike the stereotypical poor middle child though, this doesn't feel neglected; Dean writes elegantly, beautifully, full of grace and charm. And again, creates something dense and strange.
Helen Taylor
Jul 11, 2014 Helen Taylor rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this volume much more than the first. The first was good but I felt it was all questions and no action. This one answered questions (resulting in more questions) and had a fair amount of action and danger.
Mar 30, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: old
This is a very direct continuation of the first book in the series. If you liked that one then you'll like this one and vice versa. That does get into the main problem of the trilogy, though: it really doesn't take three books to tell this story. It should take one.

While things start to pick up in this one, the novelty also wears off, and takes your patience with it. The pacing in this trilogy is truly terrible, and that is such a shame because it's a series with such wonderful potential. The ch
Pam Baddeley
Read this series a few years ago and don't recall it very well now. I do know that I decided not to keep the books when I'd finished as the reality didn't quite match the promise of the premis, which is potentially very intriguing - children have to act out in reality parts that they previously pretended as a game, but with dangerous consequences that have to be actually experienced. Liked the characters and it was quite a good read but somehow didn't turn out good enough to be a 'keeper'.
Aug 08, 2012 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Oh good—I liked this more than The Secret Country, which gives me hope that I'll like The Whim of the Dragon even more. The plot is tighter in this book and moves along at a better pace (well, a pace I liked better, anyway). We "know" the world now, so Dean can focus on the intrigue. In a way, there aren't that many surprises, since the children have been playing this story out for years before the start of the series, and they've been discussing what comes next all along. Still, watching them t ...more
Apr 02, 2016 Kat rated it it was amazing
Picking up right where Book One, The Secret Country, left off, The Hidden Land takes the themes and dilemmas of the first installment and deepens and broadens them, raising the stakes for the kids from our world and the inhabitants of the magical kingdom alike. There is less fun and glee and more direness and pain this time around, but the writing continues excellent, so while it is not as happy a book, it is a worthy and necessary entry in the series. On to Book 3!
Julie Davis
Apr 12, 2012 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing
The second book in the Secret Country trilogy, The Hidden Land opens with the five cousins still playing their parts from the game they made up so long ago. Will Ted be able to change the King's mind in how battle will be waged? If not, can they persuade Randolph not to poison the King in order to "save" their country? And so forth and so on.

As in the first book, a great deal of the charm lies in watching the children try to change outcomes while dealing with the parts of their "story" personas
Jan 30, 2010 Delaina rated it really liked it
This is the second of three books, and if you don't read them in order you're likely to get extremely lost. Five American cousins find their make-believe game is startlingly real as they find themselves living out their fantasy, but their true names, ages, and familial relationships are not the only things switched around in the Hidden Land. The confusion of symbols and un-plumbed layers from the first novel are fleshed out and more fully revealed as the kids gain a better understanding of how t ...more
This was an incredibly anticipated book for me, The Secret Country had been one of the great lost favorites of my childhood and I was finally going to be able to finish the story.

The big flaw with this book is its repetition, apparently The Hidden Land and The Secret Country were meant to be a single book, but were separated for unclear reasons (trilogy marketability?).

It would have worked much better combined, it would have saved a lot of unnecessary exposition and retreading that slowed thing
Jan 29, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
Grade: B-
Nicole Luiken
Oct 14, 2016 Nicole Luiken rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, sfantasy
Reread this to my kids. This is very much the middle book in the series. Except for the last chapter, it's spent entirely in the Hidden Land. I like the push/pull between the kids' expectations from the game they played, and what actually happens.
Note: Since all five main characters are teens or younger, I'm sorting this as young adult, but some of the language has a Shakespearean flavor that requires some effort to follow. You could just as easily count it as written for adults.
Krista Wayment
Aug 20, 2014 Krista Wayment rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves fantasy
My Rating/Reviewing MO

The Secret Country series is an excellent story about a group of kids that are transported to a fantasy world. There they learn that their favorite game of make believe has come to life. But something is wrong. They must set things right.

This story is well written and captivating! Recommend to anyone who loves fantasy.
Mar 28, 2016 Yi-ling rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Continuation of book 1 as in used to be the same book then was split. Apparently. This explains the lack of new themes and the whole book being about...marching to, and then observing/taking part in a war. I still do not really understand at all the function of the Dragon King but perhaps this will be clearer upon reread. Not as good as the others imo.
Jasmin Chua
Sep 05, 2013 Jasmin Chua rated it liked it
Found it difficult to be invested in the courtly intrigue until the twist at the end. The pacing was uneven, with a lot of meandering and repetition that could have—should have—been excised. And I still can't tell the difference between the Laura and Ellen characters. Well, one more book in the trilogy to go.
Mar 05, 2008 Katharine rated it really liked it
I was interrupted while reading The Hidden Land, and found it a little difficult to get back into the mood of the story for a while. The second book, as in any good trilogy, is a little darker and more melancholy, filled with uncertainty and mystery. The story progresses, but nothing is resolved yet.
May 23, 2009 Alarra rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, fantasy
DUDE. >:( I was so angry at the ending of this that it negated my enjoyment of the meta of telling stories that most of the book deals with, as the kids find that the story their living in their fantasy land isn't the story they wrote originally. BUT THE ENDING. There is a third book, right?
Sep 11, 2007 Nancy rated it really liked it
Although The Hidden Land is not quite as strong as The Secret Country, it still proves to be a strong and unique fantasy book. I can't wait to read the last book in the trilogy. Things seemed so final at the end of The Hidden Land. I have no idea where things are going to go next!
Jun 08, 2008 Stanley rated it liked it
This is the 2nd book to "The Secret Country" trilogy. The 5 cousins, Ted, Laura, Ruth, Patrick, and Ellen are trapped in their own invented game. They now have to play their own roles in hopes of finishing the game and return to their own world.
Apr 08, 2013 Tara rated it liked it
The second installation was so much better than the first. There were more action, the plot actually moved forward and I wasn't confused for the majority of the book like I was with the first part of the trilogy.
Feb 17, 2011 Basil rated it liked it
This book packs in more surprises and riddles than before. You won't be able to not read the third book after you finish this one.
I reviewed this whole series over at book 3.
Nov 17, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
The second book in the Secret Country trilogy (see my review of The Secret Country).
Jan 06, 2010 Renae rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young and adult readers
See my review for The Secret Country Book 1 in this trilogy.
Mar 05, 2008 Anna-Marie rated it did not like it
I didn't read all of it, I didn't really like it at all.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
More about Pamela Dean...

Other Books in the Series

The Secret Country (3 books)
  • The Secret Country (The Secret Country, #1)
  • The Whim of the Dragon (The Secret Country, #3)

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