Matt Cruse, a cabin boy on board a luxury airship, befriends Kate, a girl from a wealthy family. After the ship crash-lands on a deserted tropical isl...moreMatt Cruse, a cabin boy on board a luxury airship, befriends Kate, a girl from a wealthy family. After the ship crash-lands on a deserted tropical island, he reluctantly teams up with her in a quest to solve the mystery of her late grandfather’s sighting of a mysterious winged creature near where they are stranded.
What’s not to like? It has action, it has good characters, it has a good grasp of history, it has mystery … and did I mention the action. I don’t think librarians will be able to keep this book on the shelves when the movie comes out (as long as the movie isn’t mucked up). The 355 pages may seem formidable for some readers, but the fast pace and the nearly constant action will make this a quick read. In the first 150 pages, you have a hot air balloon rescue, mysterious words from a dying man, a daring in-air landing, a strange journal, a pirate attack, a crash landing and the discovery of a mysterious skeleton.
The three younger characters – Matt, Kate and Matt’s “rival,” Bruce Lunardi – are all sympathetic. They all are held back and struggling against different things teens will related to: Matt, being poor and having lost his father, wants to advance in a society that is increasingly emphasizing academy education over experience. The adventurous Kate is held back because she is a rich young lady in a time when rich young ladies learned social graces and were expected to marry as soon as possible. Bruce is the outsider on the ship, a newcomer with no experience, and he feels trapped by his powerful family’s image and the need to live up to the family name.
The premise is interesting: what if there were never airplanes, and dirigibles were the ultimate travel mechanism? The history of the time is well done; the language, clothing and descriptions feel authentic. (less)
The second book in the Looking Glass Wars Trilogy. Alyss of Wonderland is now queen -- but even her first days are problematic. Wonderlanders have bee...moreThe second book in the Looking Glass Wars Trilogy. Alyss of Wonderland is now queen -- but even her first days are problematic. Wonderlanders have been seeing Glass Eyes and other sinister beings that marked Redd's vicious days. Not everyone is please, either, that peace has come back to Wonderland, and many are plotting against Alyss and each other. This was a hard book to put down and quite good, but not as good as the first book. One, I think it just suffered from the same strange malady that most middle books in trilogies suffer. I've noticed that second books tend to be the weakest. But I thought a couple plot points and "mysteries" were revealed waaaaaaaaay too soon. There was a lot of action, but not a lot of mystery. I'm really liking Hatter Maddigan, and his conflicts between his heart and his duty. Arch plays a much bigger role. Without giving away too much, Arch, in some ways, is scarier that Redd. I'm going to make a crazy prediction for the next book, that Alyss and Redd are going to form an uneasy alliance against Arch. (less)
Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter semi-extraordinaire, is called on by a neighbor of her mother's to locate and assure the safety of a woman and her daugh...moreStephanie Plum, bounty hunter semi-extraordinaire, is called on by a neighbor of her mother's to locate and assure the safety of a woman and her daughter, who have disappeared. Stephanie, of course, is not the only one looking for Evelyn and young Annie: Evelyn's ex-husband, a creepy guy the ex seemed to work for and the female equivalent of Ranger also are seeking them. After slipping a notch in the last installment, this book roars back to delightful hilarity. My favorite scenes: The laundromat dryer, and the goose attack. (less)