Roy, Carter. The Blazing Bridge
February 21st 2017 by Two Lions
Copy provided by Blue Slip Media and the publisher
Having survived the "super corn nuts crazy pants" adventures in The Blood Guard and The Glass Gauntlet, Ronan is still trying to keep Greta safe. As a Pure, she is in grave danger and must not be told she is Pure, lest the nature of her soul change. Ronan's father, who is a Head in the Bend Sinister, knows about Greta, and since he can't get to her because she is so heavily guarded by Ronan, Dawkins and the others, is about to go after Greta's mother. With the help of a helicopter and then a souped up taxi with an exuberant driver named Diz, the group arrives at Greta's house and convince her mother to go with them. Unfortunately, the Bend Sinister is not far behind, and on the subway, they mistake Ms. Susterman for Greta and kidnap her. Ronan and Dawkins have to negotiate with Ronan's father, promising him the Damascene 'Scope in exchange. They manage to get Ms. Susterman back, but her cat, Grendel, is possessed by an agent of the Bend Sinister. Using a very sad story from his past, Dawkins illustrates why it is so important to keep Greta safe, and the group ends up having an epic battle on the orange silk-wrapped Brooklyn Bridge. Not everyone will survive, secrets will be uncovered, and the fate of the world hangs in a very precarious balance.
Like the other books in this series, there are plenty of car chases, things exploding, and a fabulous gamer geek flash mob in Times Square. Roy does an excellent job of pacing the story, interspersing tense moments of survival with humorous exchanges, which helps the story move along quickly even when there are necessary explanations of the Bend Sinister's actions. I was glad to finally know that they were so bent on destroying the world because they thought they could all be protected and that the new world would somehow be better. I hadn't realized that the 36 pure souls were based on a Kabbalah belief-- the story stands alone without this, but it adds an interesting dimension.
Ronan and Greta's friendship continues to be tested, but I appreciated their realistic interchanges. Ronan is very clearly trying to save Greta, but because she doesn't quite understand the danger she is in, she often thwarts his attempts and wants to take care of herself. Dawkins is still my favorite character, and his sad tale of working with a Pure named Mathilde in France just adds more pathos to his character. Diz is a fun addition, and I would love to have her taxi at my disposal!
Readers of fantasy adventures, this is another great trilogy in the same vein as Bacon's Joshua Dread, Salane's Lawless, Hale's Playing with Fire or Kraatz's Cloak Society. Roy's characters, descriptions and humor are just the ticket for middle grade readers, and I can't wait to see what he writes next.
Carter Roy has painted houses and worked on construction sites, waited tables and driven delivery trucks, been a stagehand for rock bands and a videographer on a cruise ship, and worked as a line cook in a kitchen, a projectionist in a movie theater, and a rhetoric teacher at a university. He has been a reference librarian and a bookseller, edited hundreds of books for major publishers, and written award-winning short stories that have appeared in a half-dozen journals and anthologies. His first two books were The Blood Guard and The Glass Gauntlet. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York City and can be found at www.carterroybooks.com or on Twitter @CarterRoyBooks.