Friday, November 04, 2016

A New Recruit and a variety of fantasy

28250856Beil, Michael D. A New Recruit (Agents of Glass #1)
September 13th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Library copy

Andy is tapped (because of his exemplary behavior) to be a member of a secret agent type group that is trying to keep a multimedia corporation from controlling the minds of the young. He is enrolled in a posh private school and is told to keep his eye on classmates Winter and Jensen, who have different involvements with NTRP. Complicating matters is the fact that Andy's dad is the obnoxious radio host, Howard Twopenny, who is fighting against pop star Karina Jellyby's attempts to get young people to do public service. Armed with a glass that can help him see if people are evil (looking through it enables him to see their aura), Andy attempts to find out what NTRP is up to, and to stop them if necessary.

Strengths: I love Beil's work. Lantern Sam, Summer at Forsaken Lake (my favorite!), and the popular Red Blazer Girls mysteries, and this did not disappoint. Great New York City setting, fresh evil villains, intriguing girls who may or may not be evil, and an interesting family dynamic, not to mention a lot of chasing around and things blowing up. I liked Andy a lot and am looking forward to his further adventures.
Weaknesses: I think the cover is making me feel oddly ambivalent toward this. I enjoyed reading it, but it took me a long time to pick it up. It looks like a lot of other books out there, so the cover does it a disservice. Also, the repeated use of the Latin phrase lumen lucidus about drove me over the edge-- lumen is a third declension NEUTER, so it should have been lumen lucidum. Does anyone else know this. Absolutely not.
What I really think: Definitely buying a copy, and making sure that 
Summer at Forsaken Lake gets checked out today!

28110896Shaughnessy, Adam.  The Unbelievable FIB 1: The Trickster's Tale (The Unbelievable FIB #1) 
August 16th 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers

With Riordan's Magnus Chase books out, there is an untick in the requests I have for Norse mythology. By all rights, I should have loved this one, but it just irritated me. The dad was dead, one of the main characters was ABE, which grated every time it showed up on the page, and there was a talking squirrel. I should probably buy this and book two, Over the Underworld, but I much preferred Armstrong's Loki's Wolves or Harris' Runemarks


"“What is the Unbelievable FIB?” 

That’s the question eleven-year-old Prudence Potts discovers on a baffling card no one else in Middleton--except ABE, a new kid with a knack for solving riddles--seems to see. Then a mysterious man asks for ABE and Pru’s help investigating mythical beings infiltrating the town, and that’s just one of the things Pru finds hard to believe.

Soon Pru and ABE discover another world beneath the surface of their quiet town, where Viking gods lurk just out of sight. They must race to secure the Eye of Odin, source of all knowledge--and the key to stopping a war that could destroy both human and immortal realms."

25688984Rallison, Janette. The Wrong Side of Magic
August 23rd 2016 by Feiwel & Friends

I love Rallison's realistic fiction novels and could use a lot more of those, but I somehow don't vibrate to her fantasy. I also love The Phantom Tollbooth. Somehow, though, this just didn't work for me. The fantasy readers I am seeing want more superheroes, knights, or spies with powers rather than fairy tale type stories, so I may pass on this one. 

"The Phantom Tollbooth gets a modern-day spin in this magical middle grade fantasy filled with adventure and humor that will whisk readers away!

Hudson Brown stopped believing in magic long ago. That is, until the day he is whisked away to the magical land of Logos by a curious compass given to him by his off-beat neighbor, Charlotte.

Hudson discovers that Logos is a land ruled by words, thoughts, and memories. A fairy might ferry you across the river for the price of one memory. But be sure to look out for snarky unicorns, as they will see through those who are not pure of heart.

Not understanding the many rules of Logos, Hudson is quickly saddled with a troll curse. Charlotte, who, along with her father, was banished from Logos, can help get rid of the curse--but only if he agrees to find the lost Princess of Logos in return."

23566919Rogers, Meghan. Crossing the Line (The Raven Files #1)
April 12th 2016 by Philomel Books

I was enjoying this until I got to a description of how the main character was on a drug called Gerex for her spy missions, and when she ran out, protocol allowed her to buy heroin. With the "heroin epidemic" in my area, I just can't get behind a book that includes the line "The best high I ever had was after a mission." Too bad, because we need more diverse fantasy/adventure books. The Gerex showed up too much for me to be comfortable handing this to middle grade readers.

Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped as a child and raised in North Korea as a spy. When her agency sends her to the U.S. to infiltrate the very group her parents once worked for, Jocelyn jumps at the chance to turn double agent and finish off her kidnappers once and for all. She convinces the head of the American spy agency to trust her, but it’s not quite as simple as that: Jocelyn has to fight the withdrawal symptoms from the drug that the North Koreans used to keep her in line, and her new fellow spies refuse to trust their former adversary. Worst of all, there might be some new information to uncover about her parents - if she even wants to find out.

This action-packed spy thriller is part Gallagher Girls, part Alex Rider, and part Bourne Identity."

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