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Ms. Sue's Staff Picks
Monday, November 18, 2013
Trout is now thrown into a number of adventures. He meets a robot, named LT, who rescues him and takes him to Bot territory, he meets his father, and his brother, Po is captured by the District’s government. Trout learns the truth about his father, and must save his brother. Trout’s father was involved with the Meta-Rise, a union of people and bots who want equal rights for all, especially the robots.
The story and characters were very good. The gadgets used in rescuing Po were clever, and the slang seemed somewhat appropriate. Examples of the slang words included “notched” or “cracked” or “go nuclear’ and people can “gear out” or be a “drain clogger” or “totally wrenched”. The sentences were written in such a way that the reader would know what a word meant.
This Science Fiction story is fast-paced and engaging. It is appropriate for grades 5th through 7th grade.
Monday, October 28, 2013
This story is about a boy named Linc, who becomes a spy because his look-alike was a missing agent from a top secret operation team named “Pandora”. Lincoln Baker, a 12-year-old, is one of those kids who means well but is constantly in trouble. On a field trip to a chicken farm, Linc feels bad for the chickens all cooped up so he decides to let them loose. Now the school wants to expel him, the farmer wants to sue his family for damages, and his best friend puts his picture with bird poop on his head on YouTube. This is how he is noticed by the Pandora team.
Agents Stark and Fullerton arrive at Linc’s home and persuade him to help them. In return they will clean up the mess with the chicken farmer and his school. They have this missing agent, Benjamin Green, who must meet someone in Paris to retrieve a package and they want Linc to take over for this agent.
Linc is trained and sent to Paris where the one assignment turns into a race around Paris, a search for a stolen evil Mona Lisa painting, dealing with a French family, dodging bad guys, and solving puzzles and ciphers. Linc has no idea what is in store for him and how dangerous things can really become.
The story is filled with action and suspense, and realistic characters. Henry is a perfect geek with his knack for inventing spy gadgets. Francoise becomes involved with Linc in the hunt for the evil Mona Lisa painting. Together they follow the clues and decipher the codes left by Francoise’s father concerning the painting.
Boys and girls will enjoy this book and love the action, the mystery, the code breaking and the edge-of-your-seat adventures. The story is similar to the movies of Agent Cody Banks and the Spy Kids series. The ending leads you to believe that a sequel is in the makes because Agent Stark appears at Linc’s door several weeks later.
I would recommend this story for ages 9 – 12 and grades 5 – 7.
Infinity Ring series
Monday, October 7, 2013
Book four of the Infinity Ring
In the beginning of the book we find Dak, Riq, and Sera have just travelled to the age of the Maya people, in the middle of a storm. Like the other books in this series our three heroines are traveling back in time trying to correct the past to save the future world from Cataclysm. This story looks at the creation and destruction of the Mayan culture, and their greatest legacy the Mayan Codex. As the three time travelers learn about the people around them, they realize that the SQ has distorted the history of the Ancient Mayan civilization. Something feels wrong, as if they are in the wrong year. Can they save the Mayans and themselves before it is too late? Will they be able to find the break and fix it in time?
After Dak is hurt saving a little girl, it is up to Riq, Sera and their new friend Kira to continue with the mission. Sera has a secret and she can not reveal what she found out when she went ahead in time and saw the future. She saw the Cataclysm and she knows that she cannot do anything to prevent it while she is stranded with Dak and Riq in the past. Now there is some urgency added to the series. They must accomplish their time travels and fix the breaks in order to prevent the Cataclysm. The constant theme running through the entire series is the thought “Fix the Past, Save the Future”.
This is a good science fiction story with lots of action and mystery. The series focuses on historical times and places and helps children understand the past. These books are a step up from the Magic tree house books and similar to the Haddax’s Misssing series.
I would recommend this book for grades 3-6 and ages 8 – 12.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Book 1 of the Middle School Magic Series
The story takes place in a typical suburban town with three ordinary thirteen-year-old teenagers who one day discover that they have unusual powers kindling inside them. Conner, his twin sister, Lexa, and their best friend Melaine discover some unusual things happening to them at school and at home. A stranger in black is following them and their teachers are suddenly tracking them. It’s not until they are given after-school detention that they learn they’ve been chosen as future magi, and until their “kindling” or training is complete, they’ll be the targets of a dark force. Their lives as they have known it has suddenly changed forever and they are thrown into a battle between good and evil.
The three young magi encounter a variety of adventurous situations as they battle the forces of darkness. One episode occurs when the teachers are trying to escort the students safely home. The warriors of evil attack the car and almost successfully kidnap the youths.
Another time while the two families were visiting Disney World in Florida a violent encounter occurs with the Darkhands in the Small World ride. But before the attack is ended Conner and his sister Madi are found missing. Madi is found but Connor is captured. Thus the rest of the group is taken to a safe haven known as the Mockingbird Cottage. Conner is taken into one of the tunnels by an agent of darkness and than he is rescued by a cherubim who gives him a choice. Conner can return to his family or enter the realm of darkness to free those imprisoned by the darkness. Connor decides to help and he enters the realm of Lady Nightwing in the land of darkness. He stops the darkhands from capturing the energy of a kindling boy, but at a terrible cost to himself. Conner is tortured and then told that he has become a Darkhand. In the meantime Lexa and Melanie are trying to locate Connor and they become trapped as well.
These are just a few of the many battles that the magi and their guardians face in their fight against evil. Will they prevail and will Connor become a hero?
The book was well written and a very enjoyable fantasy. There is much action, adventure, and suspense. I think that readers will enjoy the magic and the action that they will encounter. The plot is fast moving and the surprises keep coming, and I’m pretty sure from the way things end that there will be a sequel.
I would recommend this book to readers in grades 4th through 9th grade
Monday, August 26, 2013
Infinity Ring; Book 2
In this second book of time travelers, we find our Hystorians, Dak. Sera, and Riq traveling to 885 A.D. to fix the break in history. They land in Paris during the 9th century where thousands of Viking warriors are trying to capture the city. Their old enemies the SQ are also there and they are helping the Vikings. The time travelers need to find the Hystorian and fix the break before it’s too late.
Dak is captured by the Vikings and is forced to work with them to capture the city. Sera and Riq must help protect and defend the city. Now Sera and Riq must try to free Dak and help keep the Vikings from succeeding. While accomplishing this they find out that the true enemy might not be who they thought. They must find the break, solve the codes, ciphers and clues in order to correct it.
Another underlying theme in the story is the search to find Dak’s parents who were lost during the first time travel. Dak sees his parents at a gathering of townspeople and they are able to give him a key before they disappear. Will this have something to do with their next time travel?
In addition to our main characters new characters are introduced: Bill the Hystorian; Rollo a Viking friend of Dak; Vigi Rollo’s large dog; Siegfried the leader of the Vikings; and Gorm the SQ time warden. Our three heroes develop more and learn more about each other and stronger bonds are formed. There is a hint of a little romance, but changes because of the passing of time.
The Infinity Ring series is just what kids need to get them excited about history or what could have been history. Divide and Conquer is a perfect blend of historical settings and fast-paced action. This is a great read for fans of Percy Jackson or A Series of Unfortunate Events. It is definitely a book that makes the slogan “Fix the Past. Save the Future” true!
I would recommend this book for middle-school aged students and up. For grades 4 through 6.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Book III of The Healing Wars Trilogy
Darkfall is the final book in the Healing Wars Trilogy. When the story opens we find that Tali has been missing for several months, Nya, Danello, Aylin, and the underground resistance are hiding out from the Duke at Jeatar’s farm. All Nya wants is to find her sister and return home. But she is sucked into the war which the Duke is waging in order to reclaim the throne as his own. Thus Nya and her friends leave to warn Gevg that the Duke is coming with his army of Undying soldiers, trained to inflict pain. Along the way, they manage to find Tali, brain-washed by the Duke, as well as Vyand, the bounty hunter. But with the Duke fast approaching, will Nya and her friends be able to help? Can Nya live up to the expectations of the people as a hero and leader as well as helping her sister, and find a way to protect Geve?
Full of fast-paced action, intense drama and many twists and turns in the plot, and epic battle scenes this story finds Nya as the unintentional hero behind the war against the Duke. With her friends by her side she once more steps into the heart of danger and does her best to fight back. The story is about war and what happens in a war. Not everyone is going to survive, some may be hurt, some may even die, and sometimes you have to do terrible things to survive and defeat the enemy. Nya is constantly making choices about how she should and should not use her unique powers. She learns all of these lessons and finally becomes the confident and mature person that is the guiding force for the people to follow.
The plot and the main charaters are very similar to the Mockingjay, the third book of the Hunger Games trilogy, except it is not as violent. Nya, like Katniss, has become the symbol of hope for her people and must become a leader. Despite everything there is hope at the end of the book. Things end on a positive note. Nya earns her place in the world as the hero of the rebellion.
This is definitely a series I would recommend. I would recommend this series to grades 5th through 9th grade.
Book II of The Healing Wars Series
Monday, July 15, 2013
This story follows where The Shifter ended. In Blue Fire, our heroine, 15-year-old Nya, begins with the same goal that she had in The Shifter – to keep the people she loves safe. Unfortunately, because of her unique ability to shift pain from one person to another, this is tougher than it sounds. Tali, Nya’s sister, and the other takers are hiding in Geveg from the evil invading Duke of Baser. He is hunting for Nya and the takers to use their skills in his pain experiments. Now Nya must go undercover in order to help protect the ones she loves and also the people of her hometown, Geveg. As in the first book, Nya must make difficult decisions that may hurt or even kill others. She must face her own war raging inside her when forced to use her healing powers to injure and kill.
While selling goods at the markets, she tries to help a street urchin and gets captured by kidnappers sent by the Duke. After escaping, Nya sets out to free her imprisoned friends and sister. With the help of an underground group of fighters Nya is involved in a series of dangerous activities.
New characters include the street gang, Ceun and Quenji; the underground fighters and its’ leader, Onderaan; and Vyand, the tracker sent to capture Nya. There are some interesting discoveries that Nya encounters in her relationships with the underground fighters. Her old friends stand by her and their characters become even stronger than in the first book.
This is a very action-packed fantasy that will leave you thinking about such issues as what is right or wrong, whether to hurt someone or run from responsibility. Nya’s character is very similar to the heroine of the Hunger Games, Katniss. The two series are very similar in that the heroine becomes a symbol for freedom. The story ends with more of a cliffhanger than the first, with more loose ends to tie up, but it leads right into book three, Darkfall. This story is very satisfying on its own and can be read without reading the first book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a fantasy full of adventure, intrigue, and mind challenges. It is a book about morals and values being challenged and teens facing difficult decisions and becoming stronger in character.
I would recommend this book for grades 5 through 9.
Monday, June 24, 2013
Book 1 of the Healing Wars series
This story takes place in a world at war and where certain children have the ability to heal people by taking their pain and transferring it into a pynvium, a metal container used to store the pain. Nya and her sister, Tali, are orphans and they each have this gift of healing. But Nya’s skill is different from Tali’s, in that it is flawed. She cannot shift the pain into the pynvium, she can only shift it into another person. Known as Takers, the girls can extract pain from the injured. Since Tali can push that pain into pynvium she becomes an apprentice for the Healer’s League, but Nya, who can only transfer pain to herself or others, must survive on her own. She’s hunted by those eager to exploit her ability for their own purpose. They are determined to make her a weapon, a killer, even a symbol for the war that’s brewing. Thus Nya must learn to keep her skill a secret.
The story has one main plot but many conflicts that will affect the outcome for Nya and Tali. All Nya wants is to protect her family and regain her people’s freedom, but the more she’s drawn into the plans of others, the more she realizes how important to everyone’s victory she really is. She realizes how much she’ll have to sacrifice just to survive.
After a ferry accident cripples the city, Nya discovers that the league is kidnapping apprentices (including Tali) and overloading them with pain. When a young soldier discovers Nya’s secret and begs her to save his dying father she is forced to choose between protecting herself and acknowledging her ability to save others and perhaps her entire city. Nya wrestles with guilt as she makes choices to save Tali and the others. She is faced with the dilemma as to who will live or die because of her power. Her closest friends and allies are Aylin, a former employee of the Duke, and Danello, the boy whose father she saves.
Fantasy fans and those who just love a good story will enjoy this fast-paced novel and will eagerly await book two.
I would recommend this book for grades 5 through 10.
Monday, June 3, 2013
A very engaging and scary fantasy mystery that takes the heroine on a whirlwind trip into another world called Scotopia. If you liked Coraline or Alice in Wonderland you will certainly enjoy this fantasy.
The story starts with the family, Sarah, 12; her brother, Billy; and her parents travelling to her late Grandma Winnie’s house to clean and fix it up in order to sell it. Here Sarah discovers a house full of locked rooms, many dark and dangerous secrets, and an unfinished letter her grandmother wrote: Strange things are happening behind the bookcase. . . . Behind the bookcase is a doorway into Scotopia, the land where shadows come from. Sarah meets a talking cat named Balthazat; Jeb, a boy with half a face; a walking hand called Lefty; sentinels whose eyes and mouths are stitched shut and carry heads for lanterns: and a giant bat with a boy’s head named BB by Sarah.
Balthazat convinces Sarah to take him back to her world, and she does under the impression that he is saving her from some evil king of Scotopia. Jeb claims that Baltazat is lying about everything. With Jeb’s help Sarah works to undo the mess she has caused by letting this evil cat into her world. She also finds a locked door in the basement that her grandmother claimed lead to Penumbra, where the souls of the dead are sleeping. This door is a portal for the sleeping, which is the reason Baltazat wanted into Sarah’s world.
Will Sarah be able to stop the cat from getting into Penumbra to capture the sleeping souls? Will she be able to return Billy’s missing half back to his face? Will Sarah’s world soon be overtaken by darkness? Will Sara get enough courage to save all of her friends in Scotopia, as well as the people in her world?
This is a must read book for children in grades 4 through 7 who enjoy fantasy and alternate worlds full of adventure and fantasy characters.
I would recommend this book for ages 9 through 12.
Friday, May 10, 2013
If you like dinosaurs and time travel than this is just the book for you. It is a fast paced adventure science fiction story perfect for boys and girls that love history, dinosaurs, and time travel. The action starts on page one and it never ends. Max and his older brother and sister, twins Kyle and Emma, are sent to stay with their grandfather at his ranch in Texas on the Colorado River while their mother is off studying dinosaurs in Mongolia. As soon as they arrive, their Grandfather tells them that Emma will be kidnapped, he will have a heart attack, and he has a time machine in the basement. Now Max, Kyle, and their new friend, Petra, must go back in the time of the dinosaurs in a VW to find Emma. Can they survive this ancient world with it many prehistoric dinosaurs? Who is the mysterious Samuel and why was Emma kidnapped in the first place?
Max is curious and observant, and he is more or less the hero in the story. Max’s knowledge of dinosaurs keeps the reader guessing as to what will happen next. Max certainly keeps everyone out of hot water and without him they would not have lived in the wild for five minutes. As we make our way through the story, Max is teaching us about the prehistoric landscape, its inhabitants and how to survive. We learn interesting and fun facts about the dinosaurs and their surroundings.
The characters are likeable and the settings bring the past alive. Boys and girls in grades 4 through 6 will enjoy this story.
I would recommend this book for children in grades 4 through 6.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The third and last book of the Kane Chronicles.
This third and final book of the Kane Chronicles is the best of the three. The saga concludes as Carter and Sadie Kane once again try to save the world from the forces of Chaos. The giant Chaos snake Apophis and his rebel magician allies are on the rise. Luckily, Carter and Sadie Kane are back, ready to fight Apophis and restore Ma'at, the order of the universe. There are some sub plots that Carter and Amy must face in their quest. Carter needs to help Zia and Ra; and Amy needs to help Walt and at the same time deal with her emotions about Anubis, the god of funerals and death.
The title implies the basis for the book’s content. The Serpent refers to the Chaos snake Apophis. Amy and Carter must capture the snake’s shadow in order to free the world. The story moves along quickly and is action-packed. The gods and heroes (or magicians) must work together to save the world in just a few days. There is plenty of humor, a little romance, and some crazy outfits in this action-packed fantasy. Again the story is narrated by both Amy and Carter taking turns in recording the events.
If you have read any of the Kane Chronicles you will warm up to this final book and enjoy reading about Amy and Dan’s determination to fight the forces of evil. They cannot do it without the help of the Egyptian gods and their friends.
I would recommend this fantasy fiction story about mythology for children in grades 4 – 8.
Monday, April 1, 2013
In a letter to her English teacher Lizzy Mortimer tells her story about how she discovered that she was a Death Catcher, formally known as “The Hands of Fate”, like her grandmother. She has this gift to see the future death of people that are close to her. She finds out that she is related to Morgan le Faye and the sisters of Avalon. She uncovers the Arthurian origins of her destiny and is charged with saving the last descendant of King Arthur from an untimely death that would endanger the world. This last descendant of King Arthur is her secret crush, Drake Westfall, a student at her school and a very close neighbor.
There are many funny situations involving Bizzy, her grandmother and some narrow escapes by Lizzy and her friends, especially Jodi and Drake. The story has a creative mix of Arthurian legend, romance, and fantasy. The plots include a planned robbery, a vision of Jodi dying and Lizzy’s attempts to save Drake. The characters are likeable and realistic, particularly Lizzy and her grandmother.
This first book in a series should appeal to a wide range of fantasy lovers. The book is geared towards students in grades 5 – 8.
Monday, March 11, 2013
The first book of the Infinity Ring
This book is the first of a seven book series written by various authors about time travel. Every book in the series will portray some type of historical location and some major break in history’s time line. History as we know it has been altered by an organization called SQ. It is up to our newly appointed Historians Dak, Sera and Riq to set the past right and restore the rifts made in time.
The main characters, fifth graders, Dak Smyth and Sera Froste, and a young historian, Riq, live in an alternate America, consisting of 48 states, with the capital in Philadelphia, and ruled by the mysterious evil power known as SQ. These three heroes are sent back in time to fix one of the great breaks in history. The Hystorians was a secret society set up by Aristotle after the assassination of Alexander. This secret organization was to assist travelers from the future in fixing history’s Great Breaks and to fight against the SQ who want to stop the “good guys” from accomplishing their mission. Dak’s parents were working secretly on a time travel device, known as the Infinity Ring, in order to help correct the disasters that were destroying the world. When testing the device, Dak’s parents disappear. Thus Dak, Sera, and Riq are sent to Spain to prevent a mutiny against Christopher Columbus aboard the Santa Maria and to make sure the right person gets credit for discovering America. At the same time they must try to find Dak’s parents who are lost in time.
The characters are likeable and knowledgeable. Additional characters that give some depth to the story include Christopher Columbus; the Amancio brothers – Salvador and Raul; Gloria; Eyeball; and Brint and Mari – leaders of the Hystorians. The story has just the right mix of history, science, intrigue, and thrill to keep the reader interested. The story is action-packed and fast-paced.
Besides being a great introduction to different periods in history, A Mutiny in Time is a good introduction to the topic of time travel. It will provide children with the opportunity to ask good questions about the nature of time: Can you really change history? Is it possible to change time so much that you cease to exist? What happens to the changes you made if you are never born? If you had lived all your life remembering history a certain way, only to learn that it had been tampered with, how would you know what was supposed to happen and what needed to be fixed?
This series is similar to the 39 Clues series and will appeal to the same audience. Cliff-hangers at the end of the book lead into the next book. The second book of the series, Divide and Conquer, takes our heroes on a quest to stop a Viking invasion.
Fantasy lovers will enjoy this book and will want to read the other books in the series. I would recommend this series for children in grades 4 through 6th.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Book 4 of the Cahills vs. Vespers
Amy and Dan Cahill, with their friends, Atticus and Jake Rosenbloom, are on the run from Interpol. They have no choice but to fulfill every demand of Vesper One or else one of the hostages will die. They are ordered to steal the world’s largest diamond from one of Berlin’s famous museums. If they do not succeed, what will become of them or the hostages?
The story contains many subplots that keep the reader in suspense. One episode takes Hamilton, Jonah, and Erasmus on the search for Luna Amato. Another suspenseful plot involves tracking down the mole at the Cahill compound. Also the hostages attempt to escape and what happens to them is another plot. Amy and Dan are sent all over the world to fulfill every demand of Vesper One. They are sent to Timbuktu, Africa to go through thousands of manuscripts looking for “The Apology for a Great Transgression", which was an emblem engraved on a salt tablet. All of these plot episodes are either revealed during the course of the story or left as a cliff-hanger at the end of the book. Who is the mole –Ian, Evan or Sinead? Who dies? Who escapes and is presumed dead? These and many more questions are answered or are left for the reader to find out in the next book of the series. The cliff hanger will keep you on edge for the next book in the series, Trust No One.
This is definitely the best so far of the Cahills vs. the Vespers. The story is fast-paced, suspenseful, exciting, adventurous and intriguing. I would recommend this book and the series for children ages 9 – 12.
Monday, January 28, 2013
This is the second book of the Saranormal Series
This second installment of this paranormal series finds Sara Collins settling into her new home in Stellamar. Sara has an unusual gift, she can see ghosts and now she is able to communicate with them. At the end of book one, Ghost Town, Sara finds out that she is not the only one who can see ghosts. Her landlady, Lady Azura, a fortunate teller, can see spirits and tries to help Sara explore her abilities. Summer is over and Sara is ready to start school. She has a vision of meeting a cute stranger and then when school starts she meets him. His name is Jayden Mendes. Sara somehow knows that he is destined to be her first boyfriend. But he has a ghostly companion who stays by his side at all times. The ghost seems intent on keeping Sara and Jayden apart. Who is this ghost, and what is his problem with Sara? What secrets does Jayden hold—and will these secrets keep Sara from falling in love?
There is another plot twist in the story. Sara is somehow signed up as a contestant for the election of the Harvest Queen at her school, but she does not want to do it. A ghost, named Alice, signed her name to the ballot and wants Sara to become the Queen so she can feel like she had won the crown and thus be able to move on. Sara explores the history of Stellamar and discovers that Alice was a victim of polio and was accused of spreading it to the other children in Stellamar. One of the humorous scenes of the story is when the Harvest Queen contestants give their speeches, or attempts to give their speeches. Alice has a part in the performances of these contestants.
The book ends with a happy resolution but raises questions about Jayden's ghost and what the future will bring. What will Sara face in the third book, Mischief Night.
This is an easy and fun book to read, for those who like ghost stories that are not too scary. The story moves along quickly and will keep your attention. I would recommend it for ages 9 – 12, or grades 4-7.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Book 1 of the Saranormal Series
The first book in this new series is about a young girl, Sara Collins, twelve-years-old, who has a psychic ability to see ghosts. She’s had this ability for as long as she can remember, but she hopes that if she ignores the spirits that they will go away. When she and her father move from California to a small seashore town in New Jersey she discovers that her new home has ghosts in every room. Sara also discovers that for the first time the ghosts can communicate with her. One ghost keeps trying to get Sara to help him. But Sara hopes that if she ignores him that he will vanish and leave her alone.
The story plot thickens when Sara makes friends with Lilly and David. Lilly is related to almost everyone in the small town and becomes a close friend to Sara. David works at the Haunted House and has the same interest in photography. David’s job has something to do with the ghost and his need of Sara’s help. Will Sara listen to the ghost? Will she do the right thing?
This book is an easy read and very enjoyable. It is a perfect “scary” story for a summer vacation at the beach or the lake. It is recommended for middle school readers, age 6 through 12.
The Joy of Spooking (2011)
Monday, December 17, 2012
Sinister Scenes is the 3rd book of the series about the eerier town of Spooking. Joy Wells is the heroine of the book. When a movie company comes to Spooking to film a movie based on one of E. A. Pengeot’s horror books, Joy is convinced that Spooking will be recognized as the hometown of her favorite author. Joy is also an advent admirer of aviator Melody Huxley, who was a former occupant of her home. When the young star of the horror movie disappears, Joy is asked to audition for the role. This is the beginning of many events that Joy must face, with the help of her friend and gypsy, Madame Portia, and Al, the elderly groundskeeper. Subplots include her new role as a movie star, her graduation from elementary school, the upcoming school dance, her crush on Louden Primrose, her annoying brother, and her confrontations with the “villain” Mr. Phipps. All of these events will lead Joy on a roller coaster ride that will climax at the town’s cemetery.
This is a humorous scary horror story that will keep you guessing. Joy is a lovable and warm hearted character. You will want to find out what happens to Joy and the movie, what she finds out about Melody Huxley and her connection to E. A. Pengeot.
The story is a good read on its own, but I would recommend reading the first two books in the series first in order to find out more about the characters, the book’s plot, and the history of Spooking.
The series is recommended for middle school age students in grades 4 through 7.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Book 2 of the Keepers Trilogy
Monday, November 5, 2012
This easy to read mystery takes place in an unusual setting. The story depicts the legends centering on Iowa City’s Oakland Cemetery’s Black Angel monument. Linc (Lincoln Raintree Crenshaw), 12-years-old, and his mother, Lottie Landers, an absent-minded professor who studies burial customs, live in a house bordering the cemetery. Linc’s struggle in starting public school and leaving his private Home-Away-From-Home School, known as the Ho-Hos brings many challenges. His struggles in junior high and his and his mother’s grief over their father’s sudden death are problems that are resolved at the conclusion of the story.
Monday, October 15, 2012
The story is a typical who-done-it mystery. The story begins with 13 year-old, Oz Keiller opening the refrigerator door at his family's restaurant and discovering the body of Aaron Sneider, a journalist. He discovers that Sneider was a reporter who had accused his deceased father of being a spy and a traitor. His father was accused of stealing nuclear secrets from the company he had worked for. If this isn’t bad enough his older brother is arrested for the murder and Oz jumps into action to save him. With the help of his friend, Rusty, they try to solve the mystery and clear his father’s name. During the investigation of the murder, Oz and Rusty, find that maybe his father was being framed for a much larger conspiracy. In solving the mystery their search leads them closer to the real killer and also closer to real danger. There are some unexpected twists to the plot.
Readers will enjoy the action and fast paced story line. It is a likeable mystery that keeps readers motivated to finding out the solution along with the characters.
I would recommend the story for both boys and girls in grades 4th through 7th who enjoy mysteries that are not too complicated.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Book 1 of the Books of Beginning Series. This fantasy adventure story starts off with the main characters, Kate - 14, Michael-12, and Emma – 11 left as orphans when they were taken from their home at night during Christmas. The children are passed from one orphanage to another within a ten year span until they end up at a secluded orphanage operated by Dr. Stanislaus Pym. The mansion is located in the remote town of Cambridge Falls and the children find out they are the only ones there. While investigating the house they discover a magical door that reveals a hidden study. In the study they find a magical book that allows them to travel through time. Michael takes a picture and places it inside the book and the children are transported to an early Cambridge Falls. While there they encounter an evil witch, her guardians, the Screechers, and other monstrous creatures.
The Countess, the evil witch, is holding the children hostage and forcing the men to hunt and dig for a hidden treasure. Kate realizes that she has a special relationship with the magic book and she learns by traveling back in time she has the power to change the course of history and discover their parent’s fate. Even though Katie has seen her mother in the past she cannot connect her to the present.
The children realize that they have special powers and are destined to go on a quest to find out the purpose of the book. The cliffhanger leaves the reader waiting for the next book in the trilogy.
The age group for this series is grades 4 through 8.
Monday, September 3, 2012
The Kane children are on another adventure to save the world from chaos. Carter Kane, age 15 and Sadie Kane, age 13, are the main characters. The story is told in chapters by both Carter and Sadie in the form of an audio tape recording. With the help of the newly trained magicians, Jaz and Walt, they set off to find the Book of Ra, which will allow them to raise Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun, in order to help them imprison Apophis, the lord of chaos. If they do not prevent Apophis from breaking free from the underworld than the world will come to an end. The Book of Ra is broken up into three separate scrolls and scattered all over the World. Their adventure takes them to the Brooklyn museum, Russia, and Egypt in the pursuit of the Book. After obtaining all three scrolls they are then transported to the Duat, the Egyptian version of the underworld. In the Duat there are 12 Houses. There they encounter other demons and traps, and eventually they find Ra and revive him.
Will the children overcome the many obstacles that they face and save the world? Will Sadie be able to help Walt from his curse he has inherited from his Egyptian ancestors? The curse causes its victims to die at a very young age and the more they practice magic, the faster it progresses. What happens back at Brooklyn House? These are just a few of the challenges and problems that Carter and Sadie and their friends face in their quest.
Readers who have read other books by Rick Riordan will definitely enjoy this new series. If you have read the first in this series, than this second book is a must to read.
The book is geared for grades 5 – 8.
Monday, August 13, 2012
This is the first book in a series designed for young readers who like fast-paced, space, science fiction adventures. There are many elements of space machines, large fighting insects, and alien interactions.
Set in the future, the story follows twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood as he uncovers the truth about the Earth and finds his place in a fight against an enemy he never knew existed. Ethan has always known exactly what he wants: to win the state soccer championship, to get into the best high school, and to become an astronaut. But when he is kidnapped by Madison and Felix, he is told that his life isn’t as normal as he thinks. Nothing is really as he thought it was. They tell him that over 50 years ago the earth was taken over by mind-controlling aliens and that everyone he knows is under their control. The only people the aliens aren’t able to control are the children who have not reached puberty. Ethan doesn't want to believe them, but when he sees the aliens' monster bug robots and the incredible way that Madison and Felix have learned to fight them he has no choice but to accept the obvious.
The fighting to save the earth is done by the children that have not become brain-washed. Does Ethan become a resister and help with the resistance? Will the plight of the world depend upon the small band of resistors that are hidden underground?
The action will make it hard to put the book down. The story is geared for Ages 9 – 12 or grades 4 – 8.
Monday, July 23, 2012
This fast-paced thriller includes intriguing characters, realistic events, and many surprising story twists. Pre-teens and teenagers who like spy stories with a lot of intrigue and action will enjoy this book.
The story follows the clever and resourceful twelve-year-old twins Katie and David as they race across the country in a game of cat and mouse with an international team of European revolutionaries to rescues their parents who have been kidnapped. The children are unaware that the kidnapping has something to do with the top secret governmental program called Rover that their parents and uncle worked for years to create. The children must first find their uncle, whom they have never met to help them locate their parents. Their journey takes them across the country to Vermont and back to Washington D. C.
The story portrays the children as typical siblings with some bickering and disagreements, but a strong sense of family prevails in the plot. The action is a cross between the Alex Rider adventures and a modern day Nancy Drew mystery.
Readers who enjoy adventure and espionage books will enjoy this story. It is geared for grades 4th through 8th.
Monday, July 2, 2012
The story is an enjoyable dystopian fantasy centering around the city of Quill and the hidden magical city of Artimé. In the city of Quill, every year the thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the Wanteds – the strong, intelligent children that attend the University; the Necessary – the children who do manual labor; and the Unwanteds – the artistic, creative children who are sent to the “Death Farm”. Alex and Aaron Stowe are twins who are separated into different categories. Alex is sorted into the Unwanteds and is sent to the death farm, while Aaron is sorted into the Wanteds and will stay in Quill.
When Alex and the other Unwanteds arrive at the Death Farm they find a secret world known as Artimé. Artimé, governed by Mr. Marcus Today, a magician, is a magical world filled with magical creatures. Just a few of the amazing creatures found here include animated origami dragons; giant talking tortoises; talking blackboards; intelligent statues; and a winged cheetah named Simber. Each student in Artimé is taught to use their individual creative abilities magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. There is a struggle between Alex and Aaron, in which Alex wants Aaron to come to his world and leave Quill.
The future of Artimé is threatened and eventually there is a showdown between the magical weapons of Artimé and the military strength of Quill, with the brothers divided. The ending leads into a future sequel to continue the saga. Readers who enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Hunger Games will enjoy this story and look forward to continuing sequels.
The recommended reading age level is grades 4th through 7th.
The Ring of Five (2011)
Monday, June 11, 2012
Book two of the Ring of Five trilogy
Danny Caulfield has been recruited to a school known as Wilsons Academy of Devious Arts, a mysterious and secretive school for the training of spies. Danny is caught up in the struggle between the Upper and Lower World. The Ring of Five, the ruling power of the Lower World is struggling to control the entire Lower World in order to invade the Upper World. They must defeat the officials of Wilsons Academy to successfully complete this mission. The Ring of Five tries to persuade Danny, through trickery and deception, to become the true fifth. They believe he is the one to complete the Ring and give them extreme magical power.
In this second book, Danny is sent on a dangerous mission to find a way to protect the Treaty Stone that keeps peace between the Upper and Lower worlds. The Ring of Five is also after the stone and they also have sent two children to retrieve the stone. These children arrive at the Kingdom of Morne, where the stone is kept, before Danny and Dixie. Now the four of them are sent on a contest by the king and whoever solves his riddle will get to leave and whoever doesn’t must stay forever with the “living dead” of the kingdom. Thus there is conflict on both sides to find the answer to the riddle and to be the first ones to find the stone. Lilly, a Cherb, sent by the Ring, tells Danny that she is his sister and they must retrieve the stone and bring it back to the Ring. He must betray his friends Dixie and Les and all of the teachers of Wilson’s. This presents a big dilemma for Danny. Whose side is he on – Wilsons or the Ring of Five? Should he trust Lily? Does he betray his friends? What happens to the Treaty Stone? Some of these questions are answered in this book, but many are left for the last book of the trilogy.
The story is full of secrets, betrayal, friendship, and spy inventions. Fans of the Harry Potter books will enjoy this series.
I recommend this book to both boys and girls in grades 6th and above.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Volume 2 of The Books of Elsewhere
This second Book of Elsewhere is a good follow up to “The Shadows.” It has a mixture of humor, suspense, mystery, and magic. The story takes off right where the first story ended. Olive, the heroine, is right in the thick of things when she tries to solve the mysteries of her creepy Victorian mansion. Her neighbor, Rutherford Dewey, joins her and the cats in the search for the McMartin Book of Spells. She is determined to use the spells of the witches who built the house to uncover the house’s magic. But the spell book is more evil than Olive realizes. She becomes obsessed with the book and won’t let it out of her sight. It has a sinister spell on her. Olive still has not found a way to rescue her friend Morton from being a painting. With the help of the three cats, Harvey, Horatio and Leopold, she unravels the mystery around Morton’s captivity.
The story’s ending reveals the solution to Morton’s existence and leads into a third book with more mysterious events to follow. Readers will watch Olive mature and accept new friendships and learns to trust others around her.
The reading level is for ages 10 and up.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Volume 1 of The Books of Elsewhere
The story begins with a family of three, eleven-year-old Olive and her parents, moving into an old Victorian mansion. Olive notices something odd about the house, especially the mysterious paintings. She is unable to take the paintings off the wall. She sees things moving in them. When she discovers an old-fashioned pair of glasses and puts them on she realizes she is able to travel inside the paintings to a place called Elsewhere. Here she is able to talk to the people in the paintings. In one of the paintings Olive meets a boy named Morton, who was forced into the painting. The house is also guarded by three talking cats. Horatio, one of the cats, warns Olive not to spend too much time in the paintings or to lose the glasses. But the suspense and mystery doesn’t stop with one painting. Olive visits other paintings and is left with some eerie feelings. She is warned that the family is not welcomed in the house. The relatives of the previous owners, the McMartins, have some sinister plans. In one of the paintings she sees a white shadow among the trees. Olive is determined to piece the clues together in order to find out more about the house. But she is not sure who to trust, the neighbors, the cats, or the people in the paintings.
Readers will not be disappointed with this book. The commentaries of the cats keep the story moving and add some light humor to this spooky, exciting, mysterious adventure. By the end of the book, Olive has discovered some of the mysteries of her new home, but there are more things to solve and she is left with other adventures to follow.
I would recommend this story to both boys and girls in Grades 4-6.
(Everybody Does) (2011)
Monday, April 30, 2012
This book is a typical science fiction story about aliens living on earth for a number of years and the co-existence of an alternate world.
The Blue Family is no ordinary family and they learn that Fashion City is no ordinary city. The Blues can't find much at all to like about living in Fashion City. Everyone conforms, colors are drab, and the television is controlled by the Fathers. As Meggie and David learn more about Fashion City and the mysterious Fathers, they begin to wonder if the place is truly as harmonious as it seems. They learn that many things are different, like Elvis is still alive, and Frank L. Baum is a math tutor. Their only moments of enjoyment come in the evenings when they spend time with the Gilmores, a family from their apartment building. When the authorities discover that Gramps is 65, they take him away for a 'vacation.' The Blues decide it is time to save Gramps and other children sent away for not conforming. They need to escape the Land of the Fathers for good.
Readers will enjoy the story at face value and at the same time will find some deeper themes portrayed throughout the book. A number of themes are covered including what happens when individual freedoms are given up to a government bent on controlling everything to the point of drugging its own citizens into submission.
The book is recommended for ages 9 – 12; or Grades 3 – 8
Monday, April 9, 2012
Book One of The 13th Reality Series
This fantasy contains mystery, danger, riddles, alternate worlds, known as realities, and 13 curious letters. These mysterious letters are sent to many children from all over the world. Thirteen-year old Atticus Higgenbottom, better known as Tick, receives his first letter, postmarked from Alaska, from MG (later you learn that MG stands for Master George). In the letter, Tick is told that he will be receiving 12 more letters with clues that he must solve in order to save the lives of many people. Each clue contains a riddle which must be solved by a certain date in order to complete the mission. MG warns him that it will be dangerous and challenging. He must solve the riddles to prove that he is up to the challenge. Tick with the help of his internet friends, Sophia, from Italy, and Paul, from California, attempt to solve the clues. During their adventure they meet two characters from alternate realities sent to help them: Mothball, a tall and slender lady who is almost 8 feet tall, and Rutger, a short and stout man. This leads into the theory of Quantum Physics and parallel worlds in relation to the 13 Realities.
The danger and secrecy makes Tick unsure about facing his challenge alone. Tick finally asks his father for advice. His father takes Tick to Alaska to talk to the postmaster about the first letter. While there they meet Sophia and together they seek out the postmaster. They find him hiding in his house scared from his encounter with MG and Mistress Jane.
Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues M.G. sends to him? Will the children be able to solve the riddles in time? What will happen if they fail? Will they learn the meaning of the 13th Reality?
Readers will have a hard time putting this book down. The reader will want to find out what the 13th Reality is and if Tick, Sophia, and Paul find out the answers. The ending will reveal some surprises and lead into the next book of the series.
I would recommend this book to both boys and girls ages 8 and up. The reading level is for Grades 5-8.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Middleworld is book 1 of The Jaguar Stones Trilogy.
A fantasy set in the fictional country of San Xavier in Central America, the story is full of action, suspense, humor, and Mayan culture. Max, a fourteen-year old, is the son of two distinguished and well-known Mayan history archeologists. He is left at home with his housekeeper while his parents journey to an archeology site in San Xavier. While at home, Max enjoys TV and video games. He is surprised when he receives an airplane ticket to meet his parents in San Xavier. When he arrives he discovers that his parents have mysteriously disappeared -- and Max’s jungle adventure begins.
Lola, a native Mayan girl helps him survive in the jungle and together they try to solve the mystery of his parents’ disappearance by making contact with the Ancient Maya gods.
In this adventure, Max is thrown into the challenge of saving his parents from the Maya Underworld and saving the world from the Lords of Death, who now control the power of the Jaguar stones. The Jaguar Stones are the five sacred stones of Middleworld – the Maya name for the world of humans, that gave the Ancient Maya kings the powers of living gods. Two ancient Maya rulers help Max and Lola in their quest: Lord 6 Dog and his mother, Coco, who have been brought back to life and inhabit the bodies of Lola’s two pet monkeys. Max and Lola encounter suspense, human sacrifice, smuggling, Maya temples, trap doors, secret escape routes, zombies, and the Maya gods’ eternal conflicts.
The authors have included an extensive appendix of information on the Maya calendar, pronunciation, math, writing, and cosmology.
Readers will enjoy the humor and the suspense of the story and at the same time learn about archeology and an ancient civilization.
The book is recommended for ages 11 and up.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Book 2 of the Jaguar Stones series
In this sequel to Middleworld, 14-year-old Max and his friend Lola are on another quest racing against time to outwit the twelve Lords of Death. Their quest takes them to Spain in search of the long-lost yellow Jaguar Stone. They are to return the stone to Xibalba, the Maya underworld. But they are not the only ones searching for the stone. Max must keep his promise to the twelve Lords of Death, keep ahead of the hellhounds sent to watch him, save Lola from Count Antonio de Lana, and keep his parents out of Xibalba.
The book is full of surprises. The intensity gradually builds throughout the last half of the book to an unexpected ending. The comic relief comes from the two characters inhabiting the bodies of the two bowler monkeys, that of Lord 6-Dog and his mother, Lady Coco.
Readers of fantasy will enjoy the adventures and anticipate the third book of the series. The age group recommended is grades 4 through 8, or ages 8 to 12.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Book 1 of the Theodore Boone series
The well-known adult author John Grisham has written a series for the tween audience. The first book of the Theodore Boone series is about a thirteen-year-old kid lawyer. He spends more time at the county court house than at his home or school. Theodore Boone knows all the judges, lawyers, bailiffs, and even the custodians at the court house.
In “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer,” Theo Boone the only son of two lawyers solves his classmates problems and gives them “legal” advice. Among the classmates he helps includes a boy who is worried about his family losing their home, helping another girl reclaim her dog from the pound, and also solving a crime.
The main plot of the book involves a murder trial in which Theo gets seats for his government class to observe the trial. A man is accused of his wife’s murder. Theo does some detective work and finds evidence that may affect the trial’s outcome. An illegal immigrant has some information but fears he will be deported if he comes forward with what he knows.
The story moves along quickly and keeps the reader interested. The characters are likeable and easy to relate to.
The reading level is for children ages 8 through 12 years old.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
A delightful story about two mice, Pip and Squeak, who build a snowman on Christmas Day. When it's time to come inside, they worry about leaving their snowman all alone outside in the cold. They quietly sneak him inside and hide him behind the Christmas tree. When this doesn't work out, the whole family go outside and keep Mr. Snowman company. Soon the whole neighborhood is outside singing and playing in the snow.
A good story to share with your preschooler. The watercolor illustrations are inviting and cozy, depicting an old-fashioned house with mice dressed in sweaters and slippers. I would recommend this book to any preschooler through first grade.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
If you like a James Bond mystery you will definitely like Alex Rider, a 14 year old miniature James Bond spy. After finding out that his uncle was killed and not in a car accident, Alex is reluctantly recruited by M16, a British intelligence agency. Equipped with his own special gadgets Alex is off on his first mission. He is sent to Cornwall to investigate a new computer system which Darrius Sayle has created. Sayle is donating a free Stormbreaker mega-computer to every school in Britain. But there is some underlying scheme connected with these Stormbreakers and Alex is sent to stop Sayle and his plans. After finding out the truth, Alex is in grave danger and must return to Britain to stop Sayle and save England. Will he succeed?
There are some additional characters both good and evil that Alex encounters during his mission. There is the evil publicist, Nadia Vole, and the disfigured mute, Mr. Grim, assisting Darius Sayle. There is Jack Starbright and Sabina Pleasure helping Alex. Both Jack and Sabina are recurring characters in the other books of the series.
The storyline is simple and the good guy/bad guy characters are easily defined. The story is fast paced and the cliff-hanger chapters leave the book hard to put down. Readers will enjoy Alex and his many talents. He has a knack for finding trouble and numerous ways of escaping it. The book will leave the reader wanting to explore the next one and eventually reading all of the books in the series.
The recommended age level is for grades 5 through 9.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Book 1 of the Heroes of Olympus Series
The story is a spinoff from the Percy Jackson series. Three new characters are introduced to Camp Half-blood, Jason, Piper, and Leo. They are reunited with previous characters from the Percy Jackson series and learn that they are also demigods. Leo learns he is a son of Hephaestus, Piper is a daughter of Aphrodite, and Jason is a son of Zeus. They are recruited for a quest to free Hera, who has been imprisoned by Mother Earth. The heroes are plunged into exciting and dangerous adventures. Leo invents a flying fire breathing dragon robot that takes the three of them on their perilous journey. The journey takes them across the United States, meeting Cyclopes in Detroit, Medea in Chicago, and Midas in Omaha. The final battle takes place at the Wolves Den, former home of Jack London, in Sonoma, California.
The end of the book reveals the true identity of Jason and his link to Percy Jackson. It leads into the next book of the series where the Roman and Greek demigods must unite to provide the prophesied group of seven heroes. The heroes must defeat the giants along with the gods. Within this quest, Jason, Leo, and Annabeth, have to find the Roman camp and convince them to help.
The sequel released in October of 2011 is The Son of Neptune.
Readers will be unable to put this exciting adventure down. The age appropriateness for this series is 6th - 8th grade.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
The story starts with orphans, Dan and Amy, left with a decision to make. Their Grandmother, Grace Cahill, dies and leaves a very interesting will. Her descendants have the choice to take a million dollars or take up the family hunt for the 39 clues that will make them extremely powerful. The descendants that take up this hunt will travel all over the world in search of the 39 clues to the family’s fortune. As Amy and Dan compete with other members of the Cahill clan they learn about their dead parents and some world history. They discover that many famous people throughout history were related to the Cahill family. There are seven teams that take up the challenge and compete against each other. These include the Holt family, Irina Spasky, Ian and Natalie Kabara, the Starling family, Alistair Oh, Jonah Wizard, and Amy and Dan Cahill. As Amy and Dan travel in search for the clues they must decide what’s important: hunting clues or uncovering what really happened to their parents.
In this first book the children encounter some life threatening situations and face many challenges. The story is fast paced and the reader will keep wondering what will happen next and what clues will be found. In this first book of the series there are only two clues found. You will want to keep reading the rest of the series to discover all of the clues.
These books are recommended for ages 9 - 12 or grades 4 – 7.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Book 2 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series
This sequel is packed with exciting adventures. Will, his friend Horace, and the Ranger Gilan, travel to Celtica, a neighboring country to Arluen, to ask for their help in the battle against the rebel warlord Morgarath. When they arrive in Celtica they find all the people gone. They encounter a girl, Evanlyn, hiding from the Wargals. She describes how the Celts were either killed or enslaved by these creatures. Gilan rides to tell the king of the news and Will, Horace, and Evanlyn are left to find out what the Wargals want with the Celts. While following the Wargals they discover that a large bridge is being built across the Fissure for Morgarath’s warriors to cross. Thus the King’s army will be trapped. The three heroes must find some way to stop Morgarath’s plan and warn the king. During the battle that takes place, Will and Evanlyn are captured by a group of Skandians, ruled by Jarl Erak, who were helping Morgarath.
There are some surprising twists to the story and the capture of Will and Evanlyn, and the escape of the Skandians lead into the third book of the series, The Icebound Land.
Again fantasy readers will enjoy reading the continuation of the saga of the Ranger’s Apprentice and will become hooked on reading the rest of the books in the series.
The reading level for this book and the series is grades 4 through 8.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Book 1 of the Underland Chronicles
In this fantasy, eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister, Boots, fall into an amazing underground world underneath New York City. This Underland is populated with humans and various giant-sized talking creatures. These creatures include bats called “fliers”, cockroaches called “crawlers”, spiders called “spinners”, and rats called “gnawers.” They have all lived in harmony but “The Prophecy of Gray” has changed that existence. The prophecy states that Gregor may be the “overlander” destined to save the humans from the warlike rats. Gregor is more interested in finding his way home, until he discovers that fulfilling the prophecy might also mean finding his father. Thus there are two quests unfolding in this story. One is that the Underlanders must fulfill the Prophecy of Gray and prevent being annihilated by the rats. The other is Gregor’s quest to find his father and bring him home.
Eventually the reluctant Gregor is transformed into a warrior hero who leads a successful battle against the army of invading rats. The quest begins with a band of rescuers consisting of two overlanders: Gregor and his sister; two underlanders of royal descent: Luxa and Henry; two flyers: Aurora and Ares; two crawlers: Temp and Tick, and one rat: Ripred. Once the quest begins, the events happen very quickly and they are faced with many challenges to conquer. The ending leads right into the next book in the series, “Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane.”
Fantasy readers will enjoy this tale and will be anxious to continue reading the other five books in the series.
The intended audience is for grades 4 – 8.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Book 1 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series
The first book of the ten book series follows the adventures of Will, an orphan who becomes an apprentice Ranger under the famous Ranger Halt. The story takes place in a fictional world based on European medieval times. It deals with the training and education of Will in the skills needed to be a protector of the Kingdom. Will learns from Halt the many skills needed to become a Ranger, including how to become invisible and an expert in the use of weapons, especially the short knife and the bow and arrow. At the Gathering, a Ranger meeting where Will’s skills are tested, the Rangers receive a message that a band of creatures called the Kalkara have killed some important Arluen people. The Kalkara, led by Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, are bound to take revenge on the kingdom of Araluen. Halt, Will, and Will’s friend, Horace from Battleschool, join together to defeat the Kalkara.
There is one major theme and two underlying plots that unfold throughout the book. The major theme is one of good-versus-evil. The other two themes include the introduction of Will’s rival battleschool apprentice, Horace and the identity of his father.
The book is full of adventure, storytelling, magic, and extensive characterization. Any fantasy reader will enjoy the story and will want to read the additional books in the series. The next book in the series is “The Burning Bridge”
The series are for middle school readers in the grades of 4th through 8th grade.
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