The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis.
Published: February 5, 2013.
Published by: HarperCollins.
Source: ARC received from the publisher via the Ottawa Blogger Meetup. Thank you HarperCollins and Kathy!
Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die.
Jack needs to find seven magic loculi that, when combined, have the power to cure him.
The loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and haven’t been seen in thousands of years.
Because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
For the first middle grade novel to be reviewed on my blog, this was a fantastic choice! It clearly had promise, and on that it absolutely delivered. I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this one.
This is a wonderfully written novel. With middle grade, I think it's very important to have a narrative voice that a younger reader can connect to. This was absolutely present with the main character and narrator, Jack. His narrative voice is so friendly and easy to follow, especially at the beginning, and I think it is perfect for younger readers. At the same time though, it did not feel juvenile at all. As an older teenager reading an MG novel, I did not feel spoken down to, or like it was too young for me. That can be a hard balance for MG authors to find, but I think Peter Lerangis has done an excellent job writing in a voice that can appeal to people of any age.
If I had to describe this novel in two words, I'd say action-packed. There is always something happening. This is the perfect book for a reader who gets bored quickly because there is no time to get bored. It jumps from some wild event to a daring escape to an unbelievable rescue, and so on. This was done extremely well because while it is definitely exciting and always moving, the transition is still there. It moves at a fast pace but not at the expense of important information. This is another area in which I feel Lerangis' experience in this field really comes through. You cannot dispute that he knows how to write for his audience.
While the plot was certainly the highlight of the novel, you can't forget the characters. The main character, Jack, is smart, entertaining, and, what I especially enjoyed: skeptical. When he is told a bunch of wild, unimaginable things about himself, he doesn't just accept them; he thinks the man who told him is absolutely nuts and tries to run away. He thinks logically, which in a story with such wild happenings, helps make a lot of things more understandable. As for the friends he makes, Cass, Marco, and Aly; they're all a little strange and they each have their quirks that sometimes make you want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them, but these things make them feel like real 13 year olds. What real 13 year old doesn't have some annoying quirk or habit? You really grow to enjoy them despite the occasionally irritating behaviour, because really, it's normal.
Overall this was a fun, exciting novel for my first foray into middle grade fiction on the blog and I loved the mythology/history aspect! Can't wait to see which wonder they tackle next! I will absolutely be keeping my eye out for the next novel in the series.