Friday, June 04, 2021

Wild and Chance: The Puppy War

Zadoff, Allen. Wild and Chance: The Puppy War
May 18th 2021 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ever since fighting off Maelstrom in Wild & Chance and narrowly escaping the Finisher, Wild has been on her own. She moves from home to home so that the evil organization can't find her. When she is taken from her current owners, drugged, and put on a plane, her first concern is for Chance. Chance and his mother have moved on, and live in a new apartment. Chance plays soccer while his mother goes between work, AA meetings, and checking in on Chance. When Wild shows up, Chance is reluctant to believe her that an evil Russian organization is after them both, but a stolen laptop convinces him. The two contact Junebug, who is living with her wealthy aunt after her father goes away because of his criminal activities. Gregory, Junebug's chauffeur, helps the group break into the lap top owned by the Canine Action Team (CAT), but as soon as they get some small information, they are on the run again. Eventually, they are saved by a figure from the past, Dr. Pao. Not only does the scientist have Malestrom's equipment and is starting a company that genetically engineers the world's cutest puppy, Puppio, but she also has two of Wild's puppies, Scarlett and Sebastian, who were born after Wild's eggs were harvested. Scarlett and Sebastian are training the Puppios, who are soon going to be available for adoption, at the cost of one hundred thousand dollars each. Dr. Pao gives Chance a puppy, whom he names Big Eyes, and after bonding with it, Chance forgets about Wild! Dr. Pao tries to have Wild put to sleep, but with Junebug's help, the wily canine tries to figure out how Maelstrom, CAT, and Dr. Pao are all working together, and how she can not only save the world but regain her human. 
Strengths: This was a great, action-packed sequel to the first book. I liked the fact that it had been a year since the first adventure, and that the main characters had all moved on a bit with their lives. Chance is a reluctant hero, but Junebug has nothing to lose and is quite the hacker! It's heartbreaking to watch Wild have to observe Chance fall in love with another dog, especially since Dr. Pao is manipulating the connection. Who wouldn't want a pet that is linked by DNA and smells like the owner's favorite food? Puppios are purported to be able to keep children safe by being able to dial 911 and even detect drug usage AND are ridiculously cute... who cares if they may also be part of a sinister dog army? I particularly liked the reemergence of an old nemesis at the end of the book, and loved how Junebug resolves that situation!
Weaknesses: I could have used a brief recap about the first book, and I'm still a little confused about which evil organization Chance and Wild are really fighting. I think a third book will clear that up nicely. 
What I really think: Wild & Chance is a tremendously appealing series that will intrigue fans of action/adventure books, dog tales, and spy thrillers! Readers who like McCulloch's Jinxed and the idea of bakus will love this one!
Ms. Yingling

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