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Would you risk everything to be free?

The young soldiers at Valley Forge are suffering from hunger, cold, and the threat of the British army. Their newly forged bonds of friendship might be enough to help them survive. But the chains of Curzon's past threaten to shackle him again.

Surrounded by the fires of ignorance, mistrust, and greed, Curzon can't risk sharing his deadly secrets with anyone. Does he have the mettle to hold on to his freedom? To claim his rightful place as an American? Is he strong enough to find the answer to the hardest question of all: Is Isabel still alive?

Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson continues the thrilling adventure started in her bestselling, award-winning novel Chains. Ride along on a gallop that will take you from battling the British at Saratoga to fighting the elements at Valley Forge to rebelling against merciless tyranny. Discover what the fight for freedom is really about.

297 pages, Hardcover

First published October 19, 2010

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About the author

Laurie Halse Anderson

113 books16.5k followers

UPDATE! SHOUT, my memoir in verse, is out, has received 9 starred reviews, and was longlisted for the National Book Award!

For bio stuff: Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author whose writing spans young readers, teens, and adults. Combined, her books have sold more than 8 million copies. Her new book, SHOUT, a memoir-in-verse about surviving sexual assault at the age of thirteen and a manifesta for the #MeToo era, has received widespread critical acclaim and appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for seven consecutive weeks.

Laurie has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award four times. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was short-listed for the prestigious Carnegie medal. Two more books, Shout and The Impossible Knife of Memory, were long-listed for the National Book Award. Laurie was selected by the American Library Association for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award and has been honored for her battles for intellectual freedom by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English.

In addition to combating censorship, Laurie regularly speaks about the need for diversity in publishing and is a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council. She lives in Philadelphia, where she enjoys cheesesteaks while she writes. Find out more about Laurie by following her on Twitter at @halseanderson, Instagram at halseanderson, and Facebook at lauriehalseanderson, or by visiting her website, madwomanintheforest.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,684 reviews
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,459 reviews8,559 followers
March 26, 2011
Forge was a compelling book about the Revolutionary War, specifically the events that took place at Valley Forge. The main character, Curzon, is an escaped adolescent slave who enlists in order to keep himself safe and serve a purpose.

I liked this book, but not as much as its predecessor, Chains. Generally I do not enjoy historical fiction, so the fact that I finished this book in a couple of days says something about Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing ability. She keeps things interesting but relevant to the Revolution, intertwining history and original plot development without becoming tiring.

The reintroduction of Isabel toward the latter half of the novel seemed out of place and awkward, though I loved her character in the previous book. She reveals a revelation to Curzon that isn’t further fleshed out, and their ensuing romance was rushed without explanation, especially because when they finally reunite they are angry and separated from one another.

Regardless of these problems, Forge is a great book to read for historical fiction and young-adult fiction fans alike. The extensive research performed by Anderson is extremely evident, and I am looking forward to the next installment in the Seeds of America series, Ashes.

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Profile Image for Stephanie Anze.
657 reviews112 followers
May 23, 2018
After escaping with Isabel, both her and Curzon are on the run. As both are still property of their white owners, they must move fast and stay out of sight. However, tensions between Isabel and Curzon cause that this pair go their separate ways. Unaware of Isabel's whereabouts, Curzon moves on eventually joining the Continental Army. Soon Curzon finds himself in Valley Forge, preparing to face the British. The greatetest enemy, however, that he has to face are the natural elements that welcome the ill-prepared American side. As he struggles to survive the winter, Isabel is not far from Curzon's thoughts.

The sequel to 'Chains', 'Forge' is told from Curzon's point of view. After Isabel helps free Curzon from jail, both of them run and hope to find Ruth (Isabel's sister). Being on the run, however, raises the tension between this pair and they part ways. Curzon moves on and finds himself amid a battle between the patriots and the loyalists. He helps save Eben, a soldier for the American side. What follows is that Curzon signs up in the Continental Army despite the fact that he is not free. While aimed at a younger audience, Anderson greatly depicts the struggles and difficulties of war. She again, brings up slavery and race and that lingering question of how can the Americans fight for freedom when they are reluctant to free their slaves. The prose is well written and the tone complicated yet hopeful. Anderson transported the reader to Valley Forge in the midst of winter. Delivering a historically accurate and moving narrative, this was good read.

Valley Forge was an iconic landmark during the war. George Washington choose this land for its strategic location to Philadelphia. What he did not take into account was the winter and the bitter cold. Because of that the 12,000 people that marched into Valley Forge were ill-prepared. The soldiers had to build their lodgings, did not the proper clothing to sustain the winter and had very little in the way of food. Surviving mainly on firecakes (flour and water mixed togther, then cooked on heated stones), the soldiers labored under harsh conditions. Because of the terrible road conditions, it was near impossible for food and supplies to reach the camp. Thousands died due to starvation, cold and disease. Many lost limbs due to frostbite and its important to remember that many of the soldiers were young boys. Anderson portarys this in the narrative vividly.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,909 followers
December 12, 2010
The refresher course in American history was my favorite thing about this book.
Valley Forge, winter of 1777-78. Remember learning about that in school? Thousands of men (and quite a few women, too) starved and froze all winter long, and many died. The suffering was largely a result of incompetence and poor planning on the part of their leaders. Some things never change...

The continuing story of Curzon and Isabel was enjoyable, if a little contrived. I think it will appeal to young people as they imagine what kids their age were facing 230+ years ago. Many of the soldiers at Valley Forge were really just boys in their early teen years.

Laurie Halse Anderson's research is impeccable. I admire her dedication to accuracy in writing historical novels for young adults. Her stories have enough complexity to appeal to more mature readers as well. Book 3, Ashes, is due out next year. I'll be eagerly watching for it.
Profile Image for David.
1,630 reviews105 followers
July 13, 2021
Forge (Seeds of America, #2) by Laurie Halse Anderson, the second in the series, follows the slave characters introduced in the first book. It is set during the harsh winter conditions in Valley Forge where the Continental Army waited out the deplorable conditions with George Washington where they drilled and prepared to resume the fighting in the spring. The young soldiers at Valley Forge are suffering from hunger, cold, and the threat of the British army. Their newly forged bonds of friendship might be enough to help them survive. But the chains of Curzon's past threaten to shackle him again. He tries to lay low and avoid any undo attention that might take away his stolen freedom and send him back into slavery.

Surrounded by the fires of ignorance, mistrust, and greed, Curzon can't risk sharing his deadly secrets with anyone. Does he have the mettle to hold on to his freedom? To claim his rightful place as an American? Is he strong enough to find the answer to the hardest question of all: Is Isabel still alive?

Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson continues the thrilling adventure started in her bestselling, award-winning novel Chains. Ride along on a gallop that will take you from battling the British at Saratoga to fighting the elements at Valley Forge to rebelling against merciless tyranny. Discover what the fight for freedom is really about as the Seeds of America series reaches its conclusion.
Profile Image for Linda Hart.
733 reviews138 followers
January 24, 2018
This is the second book in a trilogy. I enjoyed Chains more than this, probably because it is Curzon's story, not Isabel's, and so I will likely be reading the 3rd book in order to get the rest of the story. The author does a great job of making history come alive.
Profile Image for Barb Middleton.
1,688 reviews124 followers
October 12, 2017
Left hanging as to what happened to Isabel and Curzon in "Chains," book one of Seeds of America, the action continues to steamroll with Curzon finding himself in the middle of the British fighting the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. Isabel has run off tired of waiting for the two to go find Ruth after fleeing to freedom and Curzon is trying to find her. He gets lost and ends up saving the life of Eben a brawny boy his age with a big voice and big heart. A series of mishaps leads Curzon to enlisting and making friends with a troop of soldiers. Not everyone welcomes a black soldier, but throughout the course of trying to survive Valley Forge, they form a bond that goes beyond prejudices.

The author is fantastic with historical details making this better than your average historical novel. The character development of Curzon is terrific with Eben, but falls off some with Isabel. Her reaction to him was cooler than I expected and some of her actions didn't make sense. I kept waiting for more explanations regarding their fight but it never comes and as a result the romance seemed rushed. Eben and his fight with Curzon, for instance, was more interesting because it showed him having to face his prejudices and think about not going along with common opinion that was another human being owning a person based solely on the color of his or her skin.

When Curzon arrives at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777, the author captures the ill-prepared army and dire conditions the soldiers had to survive in during subzero temperatures. Lacking shoes, shelter and food, thousands of men died that winter. Curzon's descriptions of eating "firecakes" is unforgettable. Animals suffered as well. One chapter describes the supply wagon arriving and the horse dying shortly thereafter. And just like in "Chains," Halse Anderson captures the dilemma facing black soldiers such as Curzon who are lied to by masters or told they are free and then find they are not because the white man selfishly wants to enslave them for his own needs. Injustices abound and even moreso for Isabel that is forced to wear an iron collar.

The plot has some conveniences that seem contrived, but for the most part there is plenty of action and adventure. When Eben and Curzon fight, Curzon asks him if only white man can be free. Eben says of course not thinking of the free black men he grew up with at home. When Curzon asks if slaves can be free and Eben says of course not because they are owned by a master, Curzon says this is an unnatural law and compares it to the Patriots fighting against the British government and their unfair laws. Eben gets mad at him for the comparison and the two don't speak, but Curzon has planted the seed of equality in Eben who is a fair and just person. It is not surprising at the end when he has empathy for Curzon and changes his mind. Again this story ends on an exciting cliffhanger. Another winner by Hale Anderson.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ron.
Author 1 book140 followers
May 24, 2018
“All because he stole something that should have been his to start with.”

This is historical fiction as it ought to be written: a vivid portrait of the times woven from many factual threads as well as period appropriate people and ideas. But this is no history, rather an engaging, enjoyable fiction. Each chapter opens with an epigram from some primary source draw from letters or journals of that time. The story also explores the lot of the common soldier encamped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania that brutal winter of 1777-8.

“My humors fell out of balance, and I became tetchy and sour-minded.”

The voice of the protagonist, a young black male fleeing from slavery and joining the fight for American independence, sounds authentic. Written to simultaneously capture the attention and persuade young readers.

“Even from his grave, Father could be an annoying fellow.”

A fictional treatment of American slavery risks either sugar coating what was an awful reality or demonizing everyone and everything involved. Anderson draws a clear line against slavery while exploring the varying attitudes and justifications of that day.

“The land which we have watered with our tears and blood is now our mother country.”

A good, standalone read, even though it is the sequel to Chains.

“If our luck does not turn for the good on its own,” she said, “we’ll make it turn.”
Profile Image for Molly Magro.
146 reviews34 followers
November 12, 2010
Every bit as powerful, heart-poundingly suspenseful, fascinating, and honest as CHAINS. I am in love with this series.

Curzon's voice is so solidly written, and every time you think you can put the book down, something unthinkable happens and you have to keep reading. Not that this is a bad thing, it can just keep you up later than you'd like and make you extend your lunch breaks, etc...

This made me think a lot (especially since yesterday was Veteran's Day) about how many soldiers camped in miserable conditions at Valley Forge, things I cannot imagine enduring, like going shoeless in the snow, eating burnt flour morning and night, and having to watch so many die of disease or infection or undergo amputations, all to win freedom for America, and yet African-American soldiers could not count on freedom for themselves. I investigated the wars where more soldiers died of disease than of battle wounds and discovered that this is true for essentially every war in history up through World War I because of the Spanish Flu outbreak. So yesterday I felt thankful for all of the medical advances that have been made, but sad that human intelligence has not yet advanced past war or past the idea that not all of us are created equal. I remain hopeful that both of these advancements will one day be made..

Thank you to Laurie Halse Anderson for keeping these topics so relevant through your work.
Profile Image for Shira.
Author 3 books169 followers
September 26, 2020
Once again, I think I have notes floating around somewhere, but will simply have to leave my impressions from last year.

I did not find this second book nearly as gripping as the first one, and nearly gave up at some point during the reading of this one. It was knowing that the two protagonists would have to work together at some point, and seeing a few very good scenes that showed some maturation happening, that helped me finish this one to get to the third book in the series.
Profile Image for Kassidy.
48 reviews4 followers
November 25, 2018
Honestly I thought it was great having my favorite character from the first book as the main character in this one.
5 reviews1 follower
May 8, 2015
This is the best book I have ever read!! Ever!
Profile Image for Beverly.
406 reviews
December 29, 2015
Forge,the outstanding sequel to Chains, by truly gifted YA author Laurie Halse Anderson, will turn even reluctant readers into lovers of historical fiction and make history buffs out of even the most resistant student (young or old). The very accurate descriptions of the horrid living conditions in the colonial military camps during the winter of 1777 sound like something out of holocaust history. The battle scenes are equally accurate, equally horrifying and action packed. Anderson also does a great job of capturing the idealism, optimism and courage of the young inexperienced colonial fighters. Even more gripping than the story of the war is the story of the slaves who were promised freedom if they enlisted for the colonies and were also promised freedom and riches if they spied on their masters for the British. Adult readers know neither side has any intention of keeping its promise, but YA readers with their strong sense of fairness and clearly defined ideas of right and wrong will be shocked at the callousness and cruelty of the slave owners and some of the soldiers. I loved that Anderson begins each chapter with quotes from letters actually written by people involved in the Revolution and the events of the novel. Some of the quotes are from leaders like Thomas Payne and Abigail Adams, and some are from ordinary colonists. Forge will be a great movie and a classic YA novel.
Profile Image for Judy Desetti.
1,315 reviews26 followers
May 25, 2012

Once again I am disappointed not to find out what happened to little Ruth, sister of Isabel. In fact this story never learns one thing about Ruth. This story is told through the voice of Curzon as the two escape New York and end up in New Jersey fleeing for freedom. There we end up following Curzon as he enlists as a free man in the Continental army to fight for the Revolutionists. Isabel runs off to find her sister. They meet again when they are both imprisoned again as slaves and owned by Bellingham. The relationship between Curzon and Isabel is a tug of war between fighting and eventually ends up as caring and loving each other. I loved the story of how Curzon got his name and what it means. Eventually they manage another daring escape only to have the novel over and once again being left as a cliff hanger for a third novel. Will they even look for Ruth? Will they be captured again? What happens next?

Frankly despite that the books are good, I want to be able to read a story without needing three books to get the whole story. I am getting a bit worn down by the trilogy books.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Donalyn.
Author 8 books5,911 followers
December 19, 2010
Laurie Halse Anderson calls her historical fiction works "historical thrillers" and the term is well-deserved. Picking up where Chains left off, Anderson continues the story of Curzon and Isabelle, two freed slaves, during the Revolutionary War. Curzon serves as the narrator this time, and we see the horrible conditions at Valley Forge through his eyes.

I cannot wait for the 3rd installment in this series, Ashes.
Profile Image for Clara Biesel.
357 reviews10 followers
July 8, 2017
This book is wonderful. I hope everyone grows up reading these in their revolutionary war education. Yes, this is historical fiction but it's thrilling, painful and eye opening. Each chapter opens with a little quote from nonfiction from the time, which really gives root to the ideas in the book, the questions of morality in a war for freedom, fought in part by slaves.
Profile Image for Lia .
14 reviews
April 6, 2017
I really felt like I was there at Valley Forge. I love how the author used researched facts to create a realistic picture of what it was like at this camp.
Profile Image for Anita McDivitt Barrios.
947 reviews11 followers
February 9, 2022
This story takes up where Chains left off, but is told from Curzon's POV, not Isabel's. The two split after running free. Curzon thinks he knows what's best for Isabel, which does not involve going south to Charleston to find Ruth, but she outsmarts him and steals all his money and runs away from him first.

Curzon begins as a cart driver, driving goods to the American army, and ends up enlisting and fighting for the American rebel army under George Washington at Valley Forge. He saves a white soldier's life and makes allies among some of the white soldiers while bearing the brunt of discrimination and physical attacks from others.

His former owner, Bellamy, recognizes him, tricks him into coming back to his estate, renegs on his promise to free Curzon for his service in the Army, and instead re-enslaves Curzon.

Then Curzon discovers Isabel is Bellamy's slave, as well, and Bellamy lets her out to other white owners for her sewing skills.

It takes time for Curzon to convince Isabel he's learned what he did wrong the first time, not trusting her and making decisions for her. But he fights for her heart, as best he can and even though he's only 14 and barely starting to shave. When she's on the cusp of running to freedom with another slave on loan to Bellamy's household, Gideon, Curzon show her Gideon doesn't necessarily have her or Ruth's best interests at heart. And he now does.

I won't spoil how it ends and I can't wait to read the next, Ashes.

Teacher's Note

This is an excellent historical fiction addition to any middle school classroom or home shelf. It's one of the few series of books that features the American Revolution. The author does an excellent job of documenting where she pulls the real events, characters and details from in a note in the back of the book, and there are numerous free teaching resources for it offered by the author on her website. They include free curriculum and reading guides, a classroom activity guide and correlation to Common Core standards. There's also an excellent link to a lesson plan, Feeding the Continental Army: Winter 1775-76 from George Washington's Mount Vernon.

There are also plenty of pay-for-teaching-resources available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Looking for more book suggestions for your 7th/8th grade classroom and students?

Visit my blog for more great middle grade book recommendations, free teaching materials and fiction writing tips: https://amb.mystrikingly.com/
Profile Image for Beth Anne.
1,193 reviews93 followers
February 7, 2021
Read aloud to the kids for school. We just flew through this second installment in the Seeds of America series. This book follows a character from the first, but as the main character instead. These books do an amazing job of bringing America history to life, with all of its nuance. The main character is a former slave, freed by his (American) master after enlisting him in the continental army. The story follows the time frame of Valley Forge, with all the difficult details of that cold, hungry winter. I appreciate that these books show the issues of slavery as part of the American Revolution, that many blacks fought for the Americans, but also sided with the British (who were more likely to free them for service). What does freedom and liberty mean, if not freedom for all? Great questions, compelling and hard to put down story, and we can’t wait to see how it ends!
Profile Image for Mr. Gottshalk.
619 reviews14 followers
May 14, 2021
I am really into historical fiction AND American history, so this one looked like a natural fit. I did not read the first book, but from what I understand a slave boy has escaped somehow and ended up in the Continental Army. He is stuck in Valley Forge, and there is a lot of information about how horrible the conditions there were. The story takes a turn when Curzon (the slave's) master appears, reclaims him, and puts him to work. But how can he get out of his situation? The story got better as it went on. I read half of the book in one night, and if you read like that, the book will be better because the short chapters are a little too short. Some of the details in the story may be realistic, but I thought they were a little bit TOO detailed for pre-teens.
Profile Image for Krista Ashe.
Author 1 book126 followers
July 24, 2010
I just can't say how much I have enjoyed this series. I didn't know Laurie had a historical fiction series until I went to ALA. I was fortunate to get a signed copy of Chains and then a signed ARC of Forge. She certainly delivers just as much to this genre as she does to YA Contemp. The characters, the setting, the history...they all blend together to make a compelling story that it enthralling from start to finish.

I didn't realize at first glance this would be Curzon's story. I had been so immersed in Isbabel's from the book Chains, that I assumed it would follow her story. I won't say I was disappointed b/c I loved the character of Curzon from Chains, so it was interesting to see what happened to him. So, after Isabel helped bust him out of prison and they rowed to safety, they found work for awhile. Isabel of course wanted to make it to South Carolina where her sister, Ruth, was being held. But Curzon wanted to go back to war, so Isabel ended up stealing their money and running away. In the woods, Curzon ends up saving a young colonial's life named Eben or Ebeneezer. His uncle just happens to be the leader of the militia, so Curzon joins back up. They end up at Valley Forge trying to survive through the harsh winter and unbearable conditions. Eben's uncle is a kind commander, but he ends up dying. Then the unit falls into the hands of the traiterous, Burns, who has always been prejudiced against Curzon. When Curzon's old master, Bellingham, enters the camp one day and asks for him to come and testify about life at camp, Curzon thinks he has the means now to help his unit. But Bellingham, who owed him money and promised his freedom if Curzon would enlist, only ends up enslaving him and forcing him to work again. But Curzon finds himself in further shock when who but Isabel is also working for Bellingham. After trying to run several times, there's a horrible iron collar around her neck. Isabel tells Curzon that she did feel bad for stealing the money, and she had been coming back to give it to him when she was snatched off the street and auctioned.

Curzon keeps trying to find ways for them to runaway....more importantly he wants to get back to his regiment b/c he's a soldier to the core. Eben and the others in his unit even sneak around to give him the option of running away, but he won't without Isabel. But Curzon can't believe it when Isabel decides to runaway with Gideon, Curzon's enemy on the plantation. But Isabel ends up coming back when she realizes that Gideon was a British spy, and that the "ghosts" of her parents couldn't be felt when she left the plantation. Just as the French are pledging allegiance to America, Curzon and Isabel see their last chance at escape when they find out Isabel is to be sold the next week. Although Bellingham comes back and almost stops them, they are able to flee to Valley Forge with Isabel under the guise of a boy.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Katja.
205 reviews29 followers
February 17, 2021
Not as strong and gripping as "Chains", the first instalment in the Seeds of America trilogy, but still a good read.

It may also be my German anti-war and anti-army sentiment, the book was clearly pro-military, an attitude I can't share at all. Plus, I just don't care about bellicose tales, military strategy, battles etc. Still, since my husband is from Pennsylvania it was interesting to read about the Revolutionary war in that area.

I have a strong suspicion that the sequel "Ashes" will be much better again. I already ordered it, I have to know how the story with Curzon and Isabel will end!
Profile Image for Isabelle.
55 reviews11 followers
October 6, 2012
Not as good as the 1st Seeds of America, Chains, but still good. I thought it was interesting from Curzon's point of view, but I like hearing from Isabel much, much more. I didn't like not knowing what was going on with her. There was also much more violence in this one, since Curzon was in the war and such. I am hoping that the 3rd, Ashes is told from Isabel's point of view. I can't wait to read the 3rd one! This is definitely my favorite Historical Fiction series!
Profile Image for Jessica.
827 reviews
November 5, 2017
Wow. I forgot how much I enjoyed Chains, the first in this trilogy until I started this one. Certainly doesn’t suffer second book syndrome. Excellent work of historical fiction for juvenile readers - this story of Cruzon, and Isabel - two slaves during the revolutionary war, will keep you on the edge of your seat. I’m looking forward to Ashes.
Profile Image for Abby Chaput.
59 reviews
March 13, 2019
Before this book, I knew nothing about the Revolutionary War. But after reading this, I now know more info and to what it was like during that time period. I foolishly did not realize that there were slaves during this war, but this book really educated me on the subject. It was not the best book I've ever read in history (no pun intended), but kept me interested and turning pages!
Profile Image for Meena.
66 reviews
January 8, 2015
This book was a really good sequel to Chains. It's written from Curzon's point of view. It really grabbed my attention and held it until the end. There's going to be a third book, Ashes. I really want to read it!
1 review
March 12, 2020
FORGE BY Laurie Halse Anderson is an interesting book. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it. Curzon Smith is the main character of this book, he is somewhat honest and he is protective of Isabel Garden. Curzon ran away from his original owner, Bellingham and also ran away from his current owner, Trumbull. He enrolled in the Cold War and was considered “Free”, and he was free from what he has explained, he said that his old owner, Bellingham will free him at the end of the war. He got caught and taken back by his old owner, Bellingham and threatened so he wouldn’t dare to run away again because he was caught trying, planning to run away.

The most important aspect of this book is knowing the characters, memorization, knowing/understanding the situation and time and place, the themes and the plot. The characters' personalities are based on real people and they are mixed between 2 or more. I really enjoyed the fact that even though Curzon has been threatened or lived a really harsh life, he still hasn’t given up on hope. The thing I didn’t really enjoy about Curzon is that he didn’t run away because of Isabel, but luckily, Isabel didn’t turn on him. Curzon had very loyal and amazing friends while he enrolled in the military, they got really close thanks to an incident.

There are many themes you can get out of this book. The theme that is mostly used or shown is DON’T GIVE UP because throughout this book it talks about the harsh-ship of Curzon’s and his friends and how they got to where they are because they didn’t give up even though it doesn’t specifically say it, you just know it or feel it. It also shows that kindness will bring you good luck. Good karma. “He died because I threw a rock. I shook my head. No, that gap-toothed boy lives because I threw a rock.” Curzon thought. The gap-toothed boy is Ebenezer. If Curzon hadn’t helped Ebenezer (Ebe) from the British while Curzon was running away from Trumbull, he wouldn’t have had such amazing friends.

The plot of this book is when Bellingham and Curzon met, again, in the war. Everything was going well. He managed to lie to his team except Ebe because he knows more about Curzon than the others and he also helped Curzon from Trumbull. Curzon was living his best life, as best as it was when he was at his owner. He experienced what it was like to be free but that didn’t last long. Bellingham and Curzon met again when they were lining up for food and there was a messenger from General Geoge Washington. Although it was a bad day, he wasn’t starving after he had met Bellingham. He was warm and cozy, but even though he was warm and always full, no empty stomach what-so-ever, he didn’t like it. He hated it.

In conclusion, this book is really interesting, fun and interesting to read. Although the beginning seems boring, it gets better as the story goes on. I didn’t love the book whether it's in the beginning or at the end, but I didn’t hate it. When I finished reading, I had this eagerness to know what happened next, but it was only on series. I think everyone should read this book. No matter the age.
Profile Image for Christine.
175 reviews
February 4, 2017
I couldn't wait to start this book, and only waited as long as I did, because there were so many holds on it at our local library! I probably should have read the descriptor, because I didn't know that the book was going to be from Curzon's view and was a bit disappointed that it was not from Isabella's. However, that disappointment only lasted through the first 5 pages! I was very impressed by Forge. I think it helped that I am reading it in the dead of winter and a number of times was walking outside in the cold while reading it. It made me further appreciate how cold the soldiers had it at Valley Forge that winter. I must further admit, it's nice that as a small child, we went a number of times to Valley Forge when we lived nearby, so I have pictures in my mind of the layout of the land.
In many ways, this book was quite different than Chains. Clearly, the perspective was different and it really took place right in the middle of war and the battlefields. Reading about the deprivation the soldiers in the Revolutionary War went through, always reaffirms my respect for all of these men. The bond between Curzon and those he fought with reminded me of Band of Brothers, the Revolutionary years. The camaraderie formed between those who serve together is amazing to me. This also made me think, as I often do, that war is really a lot of waiting around, punctuated by intense moments of insanity/violence. I found it interesting that the majority of the white soldiers in his unit eventually accepted Curzon as a true equal, which would not have necessarily been the truth for many white people during this time period.; as evidenced by the fact that the Revolutionary War didn't free everyone, not even everyone who fought in it. I think it also shows how spending time with others, can make us aware of their humanity and breakdown the stereotypes we have about others. A powerful message for kids, at whom this novel is clearly aimed (and for adults too, because we often forget simple truths such as these).
I'm so glad I checked out #3 on the same day as this one!
11 reviews
September 10, 2017
The second book in the Seeds of America series, Forge, was written Laurie Halse Anderson and published in 2010. Now eleven years after her popular and film-adapted novel, Speak, Anderson continued her trend of writing deep and meaningful plots that tackle the task of changing her readers for the better. Forge describes the hardships of the American-Independence era as it follows the African-American Curzon through his times being free, a soldier, and a servant, traveling through the historical colonies stopping specifically for the Battle of Saratoga and the winter at Valley Forge. His hardships consist of the lack of opportunity, credibility, and overall equality that come with being an African-American during this era. Curzon and his peers are realistic examples of many personalities ranging from sly and evil, to loyal and grateful. Many of the characters are well-developed with back stories that often come into play, such as the references to Curzon’s past experiences with his old friend Isabelle in the previous book, Chains. Unfortunately, the characters are often difficult to relate to unless the reader has experienced forced labor and intense struggle and war. This story and series should be read by all fans of the genre because it depicts a great perspective of the racism and inequality present during this era.
The plot of the story is divided into three main sections, Curzon’s time before enlisting in the continental army, Curzon’s time within the army and his experience in Valley Forge, and Curzon’s time serving his previous owner. The largest section, Valley Forge, corresponded with history and often mentioned historical events such as the French and Indian War and historical figures such as George Washington. Forge’s plot is very unpredictable as their are a couple of occasions when the details given foreshadow a different outcome than the true outcome. These unpredictable details make the story exciting and difficult to put down. The structure of the story follows a distinct pattern of good, then bad, then better, then worse, then great, and then terrible. This structure keeps a consistently interesting story and develops a sense of hope and optimism for the characters and the readers. Anderson makes a few intriguing choices throughout the book that seem unnecessary but extremely impact the story. An example of this is the death of Eben’s father. This event develops the theme of loyalty because despite Eben’s tragic loss, he continues to support Curzon for the rest of the story.
Richard Wright’s Native Son presents a similar theme of racism and inequality, though to a more extreme extent. Both stories convey a theme of African-Americans being undeservingly mistreated and stereotyped strictly because their skin is a different color. Native Son directly assesses this theme while Forge shares it with a lesson that you should carefully choose friends that will be loyal to you and will be there for you. Though the plot mostly maintains a tame and appropriate status, I would recommend this book to older and more understanding readers that have knowledge of the history of racism and how it affected different people in the late 18th century. Both male and female can enjoy this story because both are mentioned and developed in the sense of forced labor.
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