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The Game of Sunken Places
M.T. Anderson
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The Game of Sunken Places (Norumbegan Quartet #1)

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  967 ratings  ·  196 reviews
Read by Marc Cashman.
From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-9-When Gregory's weird Uncle Max invites him and a guest to stay at his mansion in Vermont, he chooses his best friend Brian to accompany him. Little does he know that what awaits them is more than Uncle Max's anachronistic ways, sweet cousin Prudence, and stuffy old knickerbockers. The mysterious mansion begs them t
Audio CD
Published 2008 by Random House Listening Library (first published July 1st 2004)
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I really, really enjoyed this book. I loved how it was unpredictable and I never knew what would happen next. I also loved the characters of Brian and Kalgrash. The only thing I didn't like was part of the ending, but I still found the book funny, intriguing, suspenseful, surprising, and, at times, tragic and scary.

I listened to this on tape, and much of my enjoyment came from the narrator's wonderful ability to put so much personality into the different voices!
The Rusty Key
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: There’s nothing in particular to exclude girls from this book, but it’s likely better suited to boys with its tendency to skip past all that boring emotional and character development business and get right into the action. Ages 10 and Up

One Word Summary: Messy.

It was Anton Chekhov who said, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's
Mandy Roth
M.T. Anderson--Fantasy Fiction

Brian and Gregory take their Holiday at Gregory's Uncle's mansion (however, the actual relation is somewhat debatable). When Brian and Gregory get there they find themselves transported into a time when denim and video games are unheard of. Forced to wear bloomers, the boys search the house to find a means to entertain themselves. They then come across a board game that seems a little bit more real than would be expected.The board game soon starts to come alive in r
Summer Rosswog
I discovered this series because Anderson came out with the final installment recently. It promises to be a fantasy series that engages and challenges middle readers. Plus it is a wonderful way to introduce younger readers to M.T. Anderson--one of today's preeminent YA authors. Originally written as a stand-alone novel in 2004, Anderson came back in 2010-2012 to publish three more novels composing the Norumbegan Quartet. I expect these novels to be stronger than the first, but "The Game of Sunke ...more
James Webster
Despite some wildly funny lines and an unusual setting, not enough of this story worked well enough to make it a very enjoyable read. The basic problem is one many "boy" adventure books have: the main character (or here, characters) have plenty of opponents, but we never know what their motivation is, other than a vague notion that games are cool, even ones that threaten your life, and ought to be played just, well, cuz. Their relationship doesn't change, and the only place in the story where th ...more
I didn't like this book. It is confusing and hard to get into. I just don't understand it. I know it is part of a quartet but there should be some explanation as to what is going on. It is too unbelievable that anyone's parents would send their young son off to stay with a man that isn't really part of the family. Also someone that they have very little contact with and haven't seen in a few years. I just don't buy it. Not to mention the fact that he requests him bring another male friend with h ...more
Zach Hansen
In my own opinion, the book, “The Game of Sunken Places,” was intense at the ending but it didn't really catch my attention at all in the beginning. Some parts of the book had no meaning or any point of being there for that matter such as the instance of meeting the beast that dwells in the silver lined cave of metallic webs.

The characters in the story all work together to get the same outcome. In order to beat the game and win, the two boys must work together to solve puzzles and defeat incredi
Claire Mizukawa
This was a fantasy novel by M.T. Anderson, a YA author that I have never read before. I will say that this book dragged a little for me, but I think that was more due to the fact that I didn't really have time to give it the attention that it deserved, so I think that might have been part of the problem--starting and stopping so sporadically. I thought that the concept was really fun and that kids would probably love it. It is about two friends who go to visit one of the boys' great-uncle at his ...more
I read this in middle school and really loved it.

I found it to be a winding story that never seemed to reveal just everything you needed to know and the ending was really a "twist ending". I truly had no idea that THAT was what was coming.

I really love the whole "giant game o' death" theme. I find that all these kinds of choices of where to go, what to do, and the like was interesting. I just love thinking about all these different "variations" that a game could go.

I felt that the game wasn't co
"To all those authors who showed me that evil could be fought while on vacation, wearing knee socks," reads the dedication at the front of M. T. Anderson's The Game of Sunken Places. Indeed, The Game is written in the vein of a classic children's adventure novel: two thirteen year-old best friends, Brian & Gregory, receive an invitation to spend two weeks at the sprawling, secluded mansion of Gregory's uncle in Vermont. Shortly after arriving, the boys find themselves forced into playing a r ...more
I had a student recommend this "fantastically scary story" from our library shelves. I checked it out immediately because I receive so few raving reviews from my students.

The book is recommended for third through sixth grade readers with a reading level of 4.8. This is a great read for older ages as it was an eighth grader who is also an avid reader who enjoyed the title so much.

The Game of Sunken Places is and imaginative adventure. It is a page turner with a wide array of creatures and being
Elaine Meszaros
It's amazing how divided the genre of young adult novels can be. There is the mindless shlock full of sparkling vampires, short words, poor grammar and insipid plot-lines. Then there are brilliant, complex and wildly imaginative series like Jinks' Evil Genius, Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society and now Anderson's Norumbegan Quartet. Even the book titles are excellent and intriguing: The Game of Sunken Places, The Suburb Beyond the Stars, The Empire of Gut and Bone and The Chamber in the Sky. ...more
I really want another book by this author! "Sunken Places" is a great young-adult fantasy - don't be put off by the fact that your first reaction will be "This is Jumanji", because it isn't. The plot is great, original, and moves quickly.
This one was okay in the beginning but it got boring halfway through. I don't often not finish books I start, but this one just wasn't worth it.
Some first rate story-telling by Mr. Anderson.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Awful! Couldn't suspend disbelief on this one.
M. T. Anderson has deceptively simple writing. My first impression of the book was luke warm. His writing style seemed a bit too simple perhaps. But a sense of unease was introduced very early on, and from there I was hooked.

I enjoyed Anderson's characters. Gregory and Brian have their own personalities that play off each other in subtle ways throughout the book. Their friendship feels strong and helps them get through many of the challenges along the way. Their uncle seems a bit over-the-top,
Kristina Jean Lareau
Two teens visit an uncle's estate and embark on a magical and dangerous game in the forests on the estate. I am an avid fan of M.T. Anderson, but this novel misses the mark for me. It seems to be a cross between The Dark Lord of Derkholm, Fablehavenand Jumanji, yet without the sophisticated genre-bending of Derkholm, the imaginative world-building of Fablehaven or the creative originality of Jumanji.

Unfortunately I got about 5 chapters in and couldn't keep the two boys' characters straight or r
Charlyn  Trussell
Sep 27, 2011 Charlyn Trussell rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grades 6 and up
I like Anderson's writing; I like his style; his descriptions are quite interesting; the story did not live up to its parts. Perhaps at another time I might read this story and be enchanted; this time, not so much.

Two boys, quite different are best friends. When Gregory receives an invitation from an "adopted" uncle to visit him in Vermont during vacation, he asks Brian to accompany him. Uncle Max is a real character who takes the boys' clothes away from them and dresses them according to his
Victoria Whipple
Gregory is invited by his distant relative (Uncle Max) to bring a friend (Brian) to come visit his house in Vermont. Oddly, the boys are on school break in October, and decide to go. They travel by train, and have their first encounter with something odd on the train, a man named Jack Stimple who knows who they are even though they've never met. Once the boys arrive at the manse, they are told they must dress in old-fashioned clothes, which they accept without much hesitation. The clothes they t ...more

Gregory has received an invitation from his Uncle Max to stay at his house in Vermont, and to bring "a companion." When they arrive, they find themselves trapped in some sort of bizarre Victorian flashback, and then pulled into the game of sunken places. Battling for the freedom of the people of Norumbega, Gregory and his best friend Brian encounter trolls and ogres and a growing string of people who think Brian is a coward. But the game of sunken places is a game in which
Jasmine Rose
The first thing that drew me into this book was the premise. It sounded a bit like Jumanji what with the board game adventure and all. It turned out quite similar to that, but much darker. I was impressed with the story line itself, but sadly, everything else was a bit unremarkable.

The characters weren't all that memorable. Gregory was sadly pretty flat for a main character. He was all about being the "easy-going funny guy" and that was basically the end of his personality. Brian seemed to most
Perhaps one of my favorite books this entire semester, The Game of Sunken Places is wonderful! I was quite hesitant to read this book initially, thinking that it was everything that I would never choose when it comes to young-adult fiction: it is a fantasy, it has no love story, it has two boy protagonists, it is mystical and strange. I was in for a big surprise when after only a few pages I was hooked! M.T. Anderson is an incredible writer, and he spins the tale of boys Gregory and Brian who go ...more
M. T. Anderson- The Game of Sunken Places (Scholastic Inc. 2004) 3.5 Stars

This book seems like an interesting mixture of Jumanji and Lord of the Rings, or even Narnia. Brian and Gregory get and invitation in the mail to go to an Uncle’s mansion for a couple of weeks. Little do they know just how strange this mansion is and how odd their relative is. Something weird is going on and the young boys seem to be trapped in the middle of it, if only they knew what ‘it’ was. An adventure is in store wh
This book is about Brian and Gregory's adventure on a weekend off from school. They go to Gregory’s Uncle Max’s house and are part of a fantastic game involving two ancient, hidden civilizations. As part of the game they have to figure out clues and are put in considerable danger. There were suspenseful moments, clever twists at the end, and interesting characters.
I listened to this book on CD, and didn’t like the reader at all. I think that as a huge part of why I wasn’t
*This book was received from the library (who I assume received it from the publisher as promotional material)*

This book looked like an interesting quest into another world to save an enslaved race (think The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe)

It's not.

One of my biggest problems with the book was the characters. I simply could not keep them apart. They're supposed to be very dynamic and different characters for various of reasons, yet they're not. All I can remember is that one of them is allergic
One afternoon, Gregory and Brian receive a strange gold-leaf invitation in the mail from Gregory's uncle, Max Grendle, inviting them to come stay with him for two weeks in his great rambling Mansion in the backwoods of Vermont. While the first thing that Gregory thinks is, Wow! What a great place for an adventure!, Brian is a little nervous about traveling a great distance to stay with an unknown uncle.

When they arrive, Uncle Max is there to pick them up in an old-fashioned horse drawn cart, and
I did not set this book down. I read the whole thing—for me, that's what two stars means. However, to Anderson's detriment, I read this at the same time as Daniel Pinkwater's Neddiad. Here's how it happened. On a summer trip my wife and I started reading this book aloud, but didn't finish. On a later car trip with my father along as well, we started the Neddiad because we didn't want him to feel lost. After the trip, my wife and I had two unfinished books and we read that one first, and only now ...more
It's nice to find out that this is a series because it left many questions unanswered and ended somewhat flat. I am curious to know more of the story so I will read the other books in the series. The story and writing is reminiscent of Diana Wynne Jones, though it does not take place in England. M. T. Anderson gives it a British feel as well as the sense of taking place in the past. I was confused by the actual time period/setting though and kept guessing at it. I'm pretty sure it's modern times ...more
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Matthew Tobin Anderson (M. T. Anderson), (1968- ) is an author, primarily of picture books for children and novels for young adults. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His picture books include Handel Who Knew What He Liked; Strange Mr. Satie; The Serpent Came to Gloucester; and Me, All Alone, at the End of the World. He has written such young adult books as Thirsty, Burger Wuss, Feed, The
More about M.T. Anderson...

Other Books in the Series

Norumbegan Quartet (4 books)
  • The Suburb Beyond the Stars (Norumbegan Quartet, #2)
  • Empire of Gut and Bone (Norumbegan Quartet, #3)
  • The Chamber in the Sky (Norumbegan Quartet, #4)
Feed The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol I: The Pox Party Thirsty The Kingdom on the Waves (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #2) Whales on Stilts (Pals in Peril, #1)

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