Doug, Jim, Mel and Naomi are actually the reborn spirits of the four advisors of the Queen of Vermonia. Sent to the human world when the traitorous general of Queen Frsinella, Uro, tried to seize an orb that is a source of power. To save her advisors, she reft them of their animal spirits and sent their human souls to be reborn into the Blue World, Earth.
Now back on the Turtle World, Mel has been captured by the forces of the enemy, Uro, and imprisoned by his new general, Acidulous. With the help of Princess Rainbow of the Potonawi people, and a newborn Squelp, they sought the shrine where the spirit of the white Tiger, Raitetsu, is imprisoned. Doug is drawn to Raitetsu, a silver fang appearing around his neck as a sign of their connection.
But Acidulous sent one of his agents, a woman named Sassella, whose touch turns you to stone, to prevent Doug, Jim and Naomi from freeing Raitetsu's spirit. In a battle at the shrine, Naomi has been touched and is turning to stone, but Doug and Jim must find a way to open the silver crystals that surround the shrine. When they do so, Doug is hit by a ray from Sassella on his foot, and must struggle to the door to open it and let Raitetsu out. Doug manages to do so, and becomes one with the spirit of the Silver Tiger.
Knowing she has failed Uro, Sassella wants Doug to kill her, but he tells her that he doesn't think she really wants to be evil. He tries to reach her with compassion, and we get to see the source of her real pain. She fell in love with, and was loved by, a young man named Lamto. She knew she could never touch him because she would turn him to stone, and that would kill her heart with grief.
The villagers where she lived feared and hated her, but even though everyone else in the village seemed to be against her, Lamto continued to meet with her, hoping they would be together someday. Then, one night, Sassinella accidentally touched Lamto's sister, Maika. Sure that Lamto would hate her, Sassinella ran back to the cliff where they met and watched the stars, and tried to throw herself off. But Lamto reached out and held her, preventing her from killing herself, and was slowly turned to stone himself. But he wasn't sad. This way he could wait for her forever. Despondent, Sassinella was recruited by Uro. Convinced she was a monster, she decided to act like one.
But her memories have brought back her despair once more, and she uses her powers on herself, turning her own body to stone, which frees Naomi and Doug once more. Raitetsu is pleased with Doug, who has wielded the most powerful weapon of all- compassion. He tells Doug once more that they must help the Queen and defeat Uro. He also gives Doug two speaking devices called Rokoloi, made from the mirror crystals in the shrine.
They return to the Potonawi village, where Rainbow's grandmother, the seer, tells them their next task lies with Telaam people, and their elder, Naaman. But they won't be going alone- a Potonawi warrior named Fly and his coyote companion, Kyubi, will be guiding them to the Telaam village. Jim, who has taken a real liking to Rainbow, is horribly jealous over the seeming relationship between Rainbow and Fly, and despite his claims of not liking her, none of his friends are fooled.
The next day, they set out to Telaam, but due to a problem with Fly's magic, they wind up separated. Jim is approached by his own guardian spirit- the winged panther. To find and free him, he must find a shrine on the floor of the ocean, and someone named Ickhaby.
But when the Naaman people are attacked by two more of Acidulous's spies, Rethanole and Merponai, winged sprites with poison. But as Jim is sucked down to a watery death, can Doug and his new powers keep the Telaam people, and their princess, Irenu, safe from harm?
Another good volume. Okay, maybe this won't turn into a 5-Sentai book, but there is that definite feeling to it. It reminds me a lot of Power Rangers: Jungle Fury, but without the Power Rangers style outfits. My opinion of the title has improved slightly as well, as the character interaction is well-done, and the art is clean and easy to read and enjoy.
So far, Mel has met (in voice, at least) her own guardian spirit, and the only two left are some kind of fish-looking creature and a bird or hawk-like creature. And it looks like Mel is the hawk, so Naomi would be the fish? based on how quickly they are regaining their animal selves, it seems this series could concievably be over by volume 5 or 6.
These books are unusual in that the books are dust-jacketed, but still in softcover. The covers are all one color, with limited parts in full color. This isn't a bad series, but it does still feel like it's been done before. Still, highly readable. Recommended.