Monday, September 06, 2010

Super Human

Carroll, Michael. Super Human
Carroll's The Quantum Prophecy Series is hugely popular in my library, so I was looking forward to this book, which comes before the other series.

Adults are being stricken with a horrible flu. Super humans Roz and Max are captured and held hostage in a nuclear reactor, and Abby and Thunder, along with the human Lance (a con boy who is accidentally brought along by Paragon) attempt to free them. Soon they find that there is more trouble than they imagined-- a group called the Helotry, lead by a vicious killer named Slaughter, is trying to open a time portal and bring a super human named Krodin from ancient Assyria. The chapters devoted to Krodin show what a ruthless barbarian he is, but the Helotry somehow think he will form a new world order that will in some way benefit them.

It turns out that the plague was started by the Helotry as a way to weaken the population and make it easier for Krodin to take over. It's up to the group of kids to find a way to cure the plague as well as bring the Helotry under control. While the power of the kids is just about equal to the villians they are fighting, they lack guidance and experience. While I figured that they would eventually prevail, Carroll does an excellent job at keeping the reader on the edge and keeping the balance of power seesawing dangerously back and forth.

The action scenes are really the reason for picking this book up. This is an excellent title for the readers who claim that "nothing ever happens" in books. In the very first chapter, Krodin takes out most of the Egyptian army single handedly, then we go on a fast paced chase with Lance trying to escape mall cops and eventually being picked up by paragon; then we have Roz and Max invovled in a helicopter chase. For a man who claims he doesn't actually blow things up, Mr. Carroll writes a mean action scene. If I were his neighbor, I would probably cringe a little every time he fired up the lawn mower. This is a must have book for middle school libraries!

Carman, Patrick. Trackers.
Told in interview format, this story follows the exploits of Adam, who is the mastermind behind a group of Trackers who use their knowledge of gadgets to try to protect people from hackers. While a bit far fetched, Carman makes this seem possible by giving Adam a technologically oriented family, although the "virtual" dollars he uses to buy all of his equipment were still a stretch for me. Adam and his friends get dragged into a bigger mystery than they can really handle, but the point of this book seems to be more to have readers access the web sites than to care too deeply about the plot. I am rather ambivalent about having books with Internet links in the library-- something like The 39 Clues can be enjoyed without the web links, but Trackers puts the information and a password at the beginning of every chapter.

I read something from Scholastic about multiplatform literature, and while they made some good points (and certainly the tech savvy characters in Trackers are a good excuse to bring in a web site), I can't help thinking that the main reason to have a multiplatform "experience" boils down to selling more stuff to kids. It will be interesting to see how this one circulates, since a copy was donated to our library.
Stopped by the public library and picked up a stack of things from the teen section. I would have been in sad shape as a teen in my public library. While the children's section is often too young, the teen section often has books that would not have interested the middle school me. The stack I brought home had that problem.
Healey's Guardian of the Dead veered into Maori mythology that just wasn't that appealing; McBride's The Tension of Opposites dealt with the return of a kidnapped friend, but was too... pyschological for what my students usually ask for; and I will recommend Harrison's Once Dead, Twice Shy and the sequel Early to Death, Early to Rise to several of my students, but I just can't spend more money on paranormal romances.
Very excited to see what the delivery from the public library will have in it tomorrow!


Mrs. F-B's Books Blog said...

Did you read my rant on his Skeleton Creek book? It's annoying that publishers, authors whomever, are doing these things to make money off kids :-(

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