Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Titans by Kate O'Hearn: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

For the last fifteen years, the Titans and Olympians have learned to live in peace. The Olympians were resettled on Titus after the destruction of Olympus. When humans start arriving on Titus, it threatens to shatter the peace the Titans and Olympians have worked for.

To help ease tensions, the Titans and Olympians agree to open a shared school. Astraea and her best friend, Zephyr, manage to get detention on their first day after clashing with a centaur from Olympus. While serving detention in the nectar orchards they stumble on Jake, a human, who is one of many that have mysteriously shown up on Titus. Astraea and Zephyr enlist the help of the silver skinned friend, Tryn, to help Jake locate his missing sister. Together they uncover a plot to take down Titus and then move on to overtake the entire galaxy. It is up to these misfits to band together and try to stop the impending doom. Can they do alone or will they need to enlist help?

The climatic ending disappoints after such a carefully crafted story with interesting characters leaving the reader wondering why the story took so long only to end in such a rush. It leads to a must read of a second novel to find out the fate of the young heroes.

Rating

Publishing Information

Publisher:  Aladdin (July 9, 2019)
ISBN: 9781534417045
Ages: 8-12

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Book Review: Spy School British Invasion

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Thirteen-year-old Benjamin Ripley and his friends find themselves regrouping while stranded in Mexico trying to catch the leaders of SPYDER. The plan: To go rogue from the CIA and team up with the British M16. Operation Tiger Shark takes the spies to Britain in search of the elusive Mr. E. But first, their new found key leads them to a storage space under the British Museum. Unfortunately, a mishap during their library search ends up with damage to priceless British artifacts which puts Ben and his group at the top of British enemy list.

For a time, the group hides out in a secret room in the Tower Bridge until they break their way into the estate of the brilliant hacker, Orion, who helps them encrypt the information on a flash drive that gives them the coordinates of Mr. E's secret hideout. Erica's dad, Alexander, pilots Orion's helicopter as a back up plan while the rest of the crew, Erica, her mom, Catherine, Murray, Mike, Zoe and Ben set out through Britain to their final destination of Paris to bust the SPYDER spy ring.

The action never stops with the Spy School kids and grown ups. Be prepared for a wild ride through Britain and Paris as well as some double crossing antics. A fun addition to the Spy School Novels.


Rating

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (April 30, 2019)
ISBN:  9781534424708
Ages 8-12

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Book Review: The Revenge of Magic by James Riley

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
A vacation day visit to Washington, DC by Fort Fitzgerald and his father ends tragically with his father's kidnapping by a monstrous creature who breaks through the earth. 

Fort struggles to make sense of his father's disappearance and vows to avenge his father's death. Six months later, a man named Dr. Opps shows up to his aunt's house and invites him to the Oppenheimer School to learn magic. Fort jumps at the chance with visions of Hogwarts running through his mind. He quickly discovers the school is a government run military school and nothing like Hogwarts with guards everywhere.

The school is full of secrets and Fort wants to solve the mysteries laid at his feet, like why everyone thinks he's trying to destroy the school and who the girl he sees when he sleeps that seems to take over his mind. The only problem is that Fort is given three days to master three spells in three days or he will be sent home. He learns it's nearly an impossible task but is he up to it? Will he be able to find out what's hiding within his new school before attacks? And what is with the books of magic discovered around the world next to bones of dragons? Who will have the power to use the magic and will Fort's friends, Jia, Rachel and Cyrus be able to help Fort?

While the idea of military magic academy is an intriguing take, the book lacks the magic of a strong protagonist that we see in the Harry Potter novels. Since the novel mentions Hogwarts, it's fair to compare the two and the reader will probably not connect as much to Fort as they do Harry. However, older middle grade readers who don't mind wading through the length of the novel, will find some fascinating tidbits of magical information.


Rating

Publishing Information

Publisher: Aladdin (March 5, 2019)
ISBN: 978148148577
Ages: 8-12
Pages: 416




Sunday, September 29, 2019

Order of the Majestic by Matt Myklusch: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Joey Kopecky didn't expect his test scores would cause an uproar at his school and home. Nobody suspected he would test at a genius level. At twelve-years-old, all Joey wants to do is escape into his comic books, not be sent to a special school where they don't even break for summer. However, his parents convince him he must jump at the opportunity for a full scholarship at the school for budding intellectuals.

His visit to the school requires one last test. To Joey's surprise, he lands mysteriously into an old theater where he meets Redondo the Magnificent, a magician from earlier decades whose last act included the disappearance of a child and a fire at the theater. Joey finds himself finding the truth means he must fight to keep magic alive. However, the dark forces of the Invisible Hand who want to use magic for evil try to thwart him.

What starts out as a gripping middle grade novel into the magic forces of good and evil gets bogged down in places by the length of the novel. However, the novel will strike a chord for Harry Houdini and magic fans for those who are patient enough to make it through.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Aladdin (May 7, 2019)
Ages 8-12
ISBN: 978-1-534-42487-6