Rave Reviews Log: Adventure

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Sunbird

By Elizabeth Wein
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

In this excellent adventure set in the kingdom of Aksum (now Ethiopia), Telemakos, named for a hero in the Odyssey, is a young boy with excellent tracking, hiding and listening skills. Telemakos' country has imposed a quarantine to try and head off the deadly plague, but still, illegal trading continues, spreading the disease. His aunt, the British ambassador Goewin, knowing of Telemakos' skills, suggests to the emperor that he become a spy to find out the people behind the illegal trading. And once his life as a spy begins, Telemakos soon finds his life full of danger and excitement, which escalates when he undertakes a perilous mission to the salt mines of Afar to try and come face to face with the man behind it all. Can a mere boy be able to live for months among his enemies undetected as a spy? With engaging characters and the eloquent background of an African kingdom of old, plus a tie-in with Arthurian legend, this book is hard to put down. Readers will enjoy the story, the emotion, and be satisfied by the worthy conclusion. Other books with the same characters include The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions and The Lion Hunter (see review).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Leepike Ridge

By N.D. Wilson
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Eleven year old Tom Hammond has always lived in the chained down house on top of Leepike Ridge. About 3 1/2 years ago, his father was killed in a plane accident, and when annoying teacher Jeffrey Veatch starts courting his mother, Tom is anything but pleased. The night Jeffrey proposes, Tom angrily leaves his house after bedtime and decides to lie on a piece of refrigerator packing foam in the stream to cool off. He wakes up far downstream, about to go under the mountain! Tom is swept into the underground caverns with nothing to help him and winds up on a small beach where he finds a corpse, a dog and some supplies. But there are even more terrors, surprises and wonders in the black caverns, including the truth behind his father's death as well as a long lost treasure. But one thing Tom is sure of--he's getting out if it is the last thing he does! This pageturner will have readers hooked quickly. This is a hard hitting, fast-moving story which dabbles anything but lightly with life, death, and treasure hunting--an Indiana Jones story with all that entails would be a good comparison. It might be an impossible story, and has a rather neatly tied up ending, but readers will enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts.