'Escape from Atlantis' Book Club: Day 3

By: Shanleigh Klassen Photo By: @a.o.tales

“I understand how it works here now, and it is ugly.”

Welcome to day three of our book club read-along of Escape from Atlantis by Kate O’Hearn. Things don’t look good for Riley, Alfie, and Bastian, but at least they have some good allies on their side!

Just a friendly reminder that this is a SPOILER filled discussion for chapters 21-27 of Escape from Atlantis. Discussion questions are available below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box, one per post!

Now, let’s venture back to Atlantis!

The story continues . . .

Chapter 21

The Red Moon comes to an end and though Riley is shocked at how calm everyone seems to be following the most terrifying night of her life, she’s just as relieved that it’s now at an end. After getting a bit of shut-eye, Riley, Alfie, and Bastian manage to sneak Maggie and Pea off the ship with ease. Atlantis always has several days of near-constant rain following a Red Moon, so almost everyone remains on the Queen until the weather improves. Riley takes this as the perfect opportunity for them to sneak into the Forbidden Zone.

As the three of them hesitantly approach the Beach — Red Cloak territory — they see a girl struggling in the water. Riley and Alfie rush to the girl’s rescue, only to discover that the girl is a mermaid and she’s trying to haul a broken statue out of the water. Alfie claims that the statue is of the same monster that saved Riley from Mada. The statue is in fact a gargoyle named Gideon. Gargoyles turn to stone by day, and if they’re unable to get the statue back onshore and in one piece by nightfall, Gideon will die.

Pea comes along, as well as a unicorn determined to get them out of Red Cloak territory but Riley is able to convince the unicorn to help them instead. Together, they’re all able to hoist Gideon onto the beach. To avoid suspicion, Riley, Alfie, and Bastian return to the Queen but promise to return before dark to hold Gideon’s broken wing in place, which will hopefully allow him to awaken.

Chapter 21

Riley helps Bastian and Alfie with their chores to pass the time. The three sneak out once more and are greeted at the boundary of the Community by a waiting unicorn. The unicorn leads them through the jungle to the beach, where four more unicorns are protecting Gideon. Managing to find the final missing piece of Gideon’s wing in the nick of time, Riley, Alfie, and Bastian hold the heavy wing in place and wait for moonrise. Just then, Mada arrives on the scene and he’s as furious as ever. The unicorns intervene and Mada swears revenge before disappearing back into the jungle.

From behind the clouds, the moon begins to rise. The mermaid sings to Gideon, calling him back, and suddenly the cold statue grows warm. Stone turns to leather as Gideon awakens! As Gideon gets his bearings, Riley notes how though he is immense, she’s not frightened by him. Gideon thanks them all for risking their safety to help him.

As the unicorns leave, Riley asks Gideon about them and he cautions her to leave them be. Unicorns are dangerous and unpredictable and live on the North Side of the island with the other magical beings. Gideon introduces Galina, the Siren, and hopes that she will be willing to befriend the three of them.

As Riley, Alfie, Bastian, and Gideon make their way back to the Queen, Gideon speaks about the Crucible on the forbidden North Side of the island. Riley and Alfie still don’t understand why so much of the island is shut off from the others, and Gideon explains that those deemed different were persecuted by the humans for a long time, even before coming to Atlantis. Though Atlantis is safer, the humans of the Community still don’t trust them. Gideon leaves them at the Community’s boundary, and the three are stopped as they board the Queen by Lisette who’s furious at them for leaving the ship so soon after the Red Moon. They are all sent off to their cabins and told there will be no more adventures. As Riley tucks herself into bed, sore and cold from the night’s activities, she’s glad about what they accomplished and hopeful that their new allies might help find her aunt and father.

Chapter 23

The next day, Alfie is anxious about their parents and worried they may already be dead. Riley assures him that she has a plan to ask Galina for help, and they go off to breakfast renewed. Kerry is pleased, as she was the one to inform Lisette of the group's absence the night before. Bastian is upset with Kerry, which infuriates her more. She yells at Riley that she hopes Mada will gobble her up and then runs away in tears. Though Kerry’s meddling is causing them problems, Riley and Alfie tell Bastian of their plan and he agrees to join them.

Chapter 24

Riley, Alfie, Bastian, and Miss Pigglesworth sneak away to the beach to talk with Galina. Riley asks her to take them over to the Forbidden Zone, but Galina refuses and leaves. Just then, three Red Cloaks appear, led by Mada, intent on finishing them off. Though Riley, Alfie, and Bastian try to swim away from the approaching Red Cloaks, they’re no match for the ruthless hunters.

Galina resurfaces as they’re halfway to the Forbidden Zone. Moments later, the water around them swells as the Leviathan rises to the surface! Galina uses her siren song to turn the Leviathan on Mada and the others. Mada and another Red Cloak escape, but the third is not so lucky. Mada curses at them from the shore, as they continue onward to the Forbidden Zone.

Instead of taking them straight over to the dangerous island, Galina leads them to a ship's graveyard. There are dozens of ships floating here in various states of disrepair, including the Event Horizon! Among the ships, Bastian spies a large yacht named the Moon Dancer which he and Miss Pigglesworth instantly recognize, though Bastian can’t quite place how he knows it. They enter the ship, which is in incredible condition for being so old and out-of-use, and see photos mounted on the wall showing a happy family of a father, a mother, an older woman, and a young boy — Bastian! The Moon Dancer belonged to Bastian and Miss Pigglesworth’s family!

Chapter 25

Riley is skeptical of Bastian’s declaration as the photos showing the family are dated from the 1920s, over ninety years ago. But Bastian begins to remember a little about his life before Atlantis, including that he once was able to read and write, which he said earlier none in the Community could do. Bastian says that long ago, the Community gave up the little books they had and burned them. Any remaining were taken by the gargoyles back to the Crucible.

The three of them agree that they’ll return to the Moon Dancer to search for more clues to Bastian’s old life, but that they need to continue on to the Forbidden Zone to look for Mary and Andrew. Returning to Galina, the mermaid tries to stop them from going on, but Riley and Alfie are determined.

When they make it to shore, Riley and Alfie immediately start shouting for their parents, but strange voices answers them instead, teasing and mimicking them. Galina calls out to them and they spy a massive alligator and other huge creatures heading straight for them! Running back to the water, Galina and Miss Pigglesworth lead the three away from the island, but Alfie is suddenly yanked beneath the water. Galina comes to his rescue, wrapping around the alligator who has Alfie’s leg in its jaws. The alligator lets him go, but he is badly injured. Galina sings out for help and several dolphins arrive to carry them to safety.

Near the shore closest to the Community, Bastian heads back to the Queen for help and Riley stays behind with Alfie and Galina. Galina slips away as Bastian returns with Shane and three others. Shane is decidedly not pleased.

Chapter 26

As they return to the Queen, Bastian says that although he told Shane and the others that they had tried to go to the Forbidden Zone, he kept the real reason a secret. Arriving at the Queen, Riley and Bastian are met by an angry Lisette and Beresford. They send Bastian off to his cabin but keep Riley back to berate her. Although Riley tries to defend herself, they say that Riley and Alfie are disruptions to the Community. To curtail any more of their behavior, they assign Riley to Lisette for additional work, relocate Riley and Alfie to new cabins apart from each other, and separate Riley from the other children at mealtimes. Riley complies indignantly.

Chapter 27

Although Riley’s new room is spacious and beautifully decorated, she’s the only person on this entire part of the deck, leaving her feeling even more imprisoned and isolated. Over the course of the day, Riley miserably complies with Lisette and Beresford’s new rules and distances herself from the other children.

After dinner, Riley excuses herself from the nightly singing and heads back to her room. A little while later, Bastian and Miss Pigglesworth arrive at her door, having snuck away from the bonfire as well. Bastian tells Riley that when she and Alfie leave Atlantis, he and Miss Pigglesworth want to leave with them. Riley and Bastian agree that they’ll continue to work together in secret, but as Kerry keeps informing Lisette of everything they’re up to, they need to fool her. They agree that Bastian will tell Kerry that he no longer likes Riley to appease her, and Riley will do her best to appear that she’s accepted her place on Atlantis.

The next day, after Riley acts happy and friendly to Lisette, she’s finally permitted to go visit Alfie. However, when she greets Alfie in her usual way (“Hi, Creep!”), he doesn’t react the way he always has. In fact, he isn’t acting like the Alfie she knows at all... Riley leaves to go to the sewing hut in a daze and breaks down when Maggie asks if she’s all right. She tells Maggie everything that’s happened in the last little while, and Maggie thinks Alfie was given Memory Berries. She cautions Riley to be on her guard in case someone tries to give her Memory Berries too.

At the end of the day, Lisette is waiting for Riley outside the sewing hut to take her to work in the orchards. There, she meets Kevin, the yellow-cloaked rhino Alfie had met earlier and who is just as gentle as Pea and Maggie. Riley thinks that if it ends up that she can’t leave Atlantis after all, she will do everything she can to change things for the nonhuman people on the island.

Riley is later woken up by Gideon who agrees to help her search for her aunt and father. Climbing onto Gideon’s back, they fly over to the Forbidden Zone and Riley calls out for her family. Eventually, Gideon hears something and circling back, they hear a voice in response. It’s Riley’s dad! He’s alive!

Gideon is able to rescue Mary and Andrew from the tree they were hiding in. Taking them all to the Moon Dancer, Riley is thrilled to be reunited with her father and aunt, and fills them in about Atlantis and the Forbidden Zone, though she leaves out that Alfie may have forgotten about them. Though she can’t see either of them in the darkness, Gideon informs Riley that both Mary and Andrew have already started to change and therefore cannot be brought to the Community. Andrew tells Riley to return to the Community as he and Mary will work on getting the Moon Dancer ready to sail, and forbids her from coming back until they’re all ready to leave.

Gideon brings Riley back to the Queen and says he’ll return again tomorrow. In the meantime, she must find some way to be alone with her cousin to confirm that he was given the Memory Berries.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Now that we’re more than halfway through our read of Escape from Atlantis, how have Riley and Alfie changed from the beginning of the story to now? How have they changed in how they act towards each other?

  2. Bastian is starting to recall the family he lost. We know what happened to Miss Pigglesworth, but what do you think happened to Bastian’s parents? What do you hope we find out about them before the end of the book?

  3. There are many dangerous people and creatures on Atlantis but in many different ways. Who do you think poses the biggest threat for our group as they plot to leave the island?

Do you have questions you'd like to ask about Escape from Atlantis?
Drop them in the comments for everyone to answer!

Join us again one last time on Monday as we discuss chapters 28 - 38 and the conclusion to Escape from Atlantis. See you then!

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