Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Forgotten City and Wrath of the Dragon King

36300664Ford, Michael. Forgotten City
October 9th 2018 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Kobi and his father, Jonathan Hales, have lived in an abandoned school in Seattle since the Waste devastated the world around the time Kobi was born. There are no other survivors, unless you count bears, wolves, giant rats, and the horrible, predatory Chokerplant. There are also flying Snatchers, machines that pick infected animals up from the ground and might take humans if they are not careful. When his father gets very ill because of the Waste seeping into their compound, he returns to his lab to get more medicine, telling Kobi he will be back in two weeks. When he doesn't return, Kobi sets out to find him, braving the dangers to get to the local hospital. He doesn't find his father, but he does find some children who claim that the organization behind the Snatchers are actually the good guys who have helped to take care of them. Kobi doesn't believe this, and when he is captured, he starts to understand why. Melanie is the Guardian that the kids like most, but she tells him horrible things about his father, which he tends to believe-- his father worked with the scientist who caused the Waste in his attempts to solve the world hunger problem. Not only that, but they have his ailing father, who may not survive because of all the years he was exposed to toxins. Not only THAT, but they give Kobi more information about his special skills and resistance to the Waste. It's still hard to tell who are the good guys and the bad guys, but Kobi's struggle isn't over. I strongly suspect a sequel will answer many questions.
Strengths: Great world building, with abandoned buildings, vicious creatures, and a scientific scheme gone wrong (even if Kirkus has problems with the science). This has lots of harrowing chase scenes, children saving the world from evil, and edge-of-your seat, nonstop action.
Weaknesses: While I love books that shade the characters so they aren't so black and white (think Delaney's The Last Apprentice which is brilliant in showing the evil in the good characters and the good in the evil ones), I still like to know who is supposed to be the good side and who the bad. This is why I never cared for Artemis Fowl. Students won't care.
What I really think: While I am tired of Dystopian novels (why imagine a future when so many bad things happen?), I still get a lot of students who like Jeff Hirsch's titles (The Eleventh Plague, The Darkest Path, Dark River Falls), Haddix's The Always War, Dan Smith's Boy X, and of course, The Hunger Games and the Maze Runner series. This will be perfect for them.

Mull, Brandon. Wrath of the Dragon King (Dragonwatch #2)
October 23rd 2018 by Shadow Mountain
EARC from Edelweiss Plus

It's hard to believe that Fablehaven came out in 2006-- I still want Shadow Mountain to reissue hardcovers of the first series so I can replace my well-worn ones! (Wait: Follett now offers it!) While I like this series, it's not quite intense enough for some of my hard-core fantasy fans when they get into 8th grade, but Dragonwatch definitely steps things up a bit.

Seth and Kendra, newly minted caretakers of the Dragon Sanctuary, are in an impossible position with Celebrant, and when he invites them to his castle, they know things won't end well. Celebrant breaks the pact and all of the characters are sent on different journeys home or to find out information, ending at Stormguard Castle, where Seth and Kendra are pitted against the dragons in an almost impossible game put on by Humbuggle. Can they use their smarts (as well as their fairy powers) to figure out how to win, freeing the inhabitants of the castle as well as defeating the dragons?

I read this during the first week of school, so don't feel like I can write a complete review, but I did really enjoy it. It did have a decided Dungeons and Dragons feel to it, with the journey and the contest at Stormguard, and that might appeal to many readers today. A bit darker, and definitely NOT the last book in the series. Can't wait to hand this to my students!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review of the Forgotten City! I love the realism in this dystopian story and that someone is trying to solve the food shortage. The idea of science gone wrong would be intriguing.