Breaking Badlands is the third and final book in the Talespinners series by Scott Reintgen, preceded by Saving Fable (book one) and Escaping Ordinary (book two).
[Look out--there are spoilers for the first two books!]
Indira Story has now saved the land of Imagination twice, and she's ready for a vacation. But that's before she gets swept up in a mysterious group known as the Antiheroes, who ask her to go on a dangerous mission to infiltrate Antagonist Academy before the leader of the villain school can execute a plan which would be disastrous not only for Good and Evil in all stories, but the very land of Imagination. Although Indira is at first certain this new mission will be a piece of cake, not all is as it seems. She's defended Imagination from all sorts of nefarious dangers--but can she protect it from herself?
So often with humorous, brilliant books--particularly when the jokes made are specialized--I find the sequels something of a letdown. I begin them hoping they will be everything their predecessors were, and they never quite are. But just like the second Talespinners book, Escaping Ordinary, Breaking Badlands does something truly remarkable: in my opinion, it not only meets the strengths of book one, it's even better. Breaking Badlands delivers everything which was great about the first two books and makes it all even better, perhaps in part because the cast is all familiar, making it a new and wonderfully clever adventure inhabited by characters who are already old friends. It expertly wraps up the subplots and characters from the previous books, all while shining with new twists, settings, and humor. As a fan of well-drawn villains, the setting of Antagonist Academy was particularly enjoyable to me. I highly recommend the entire Talespinners series to anyone who loves stories and the characters who inhabit them ages nine and up.