A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mortal Danger, the first book in The Immortal Game series, is about teen girl Edie wanting to get revenge on the teens at her high school who've bullied her. But the novel switches from being a story of revenge to a supernatural game between warring groups of monsters, in which Edie is a pawn. There's some violence, with descriptions of death and suicide, but it's brief. Swear words ("ass", "assholes," "bitch," "bitches," "crap," "s--t," "Christ," "hell," "damn") are littered throughout. There's talk of sex and some description of kissing, hugging, caressing, and more.
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What's the story?
Edith "Edie" Kramer has been bullied throughout high school by the Teflon crew, a group of beautiful teens. At the beginning of the novel, she wants to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge but is stopped by handsome stranger Kian, who tells Edie she doesn't have to end her life, she can exact revenge instead. Kian gives her three favors to set her plan in motion. Edie soon realizes she's the pawn in a supernatural game that will carry out her revenge -- but hurt the people she loves.
Is it any good?
The premise of MORTAL DANGER will make readers pick up the book. Readers will want to see how Edie exacts her revenge on the people who have tormented her throughout high school. However, author Ann Aguirre fails to make Edie a sympathetic character by not showing readers at the beginning of the novel how she was bullied and making us root for her and dislike her tormentors. Readers may groan at the way Edie wants to exact her revenge -- by becoming beautiful so she can infiltrate the group of beautiful people who hurt her. Once Edie becomes beautiful, she suddenly -- and implausibly -- gains self-confidence, poise, and cattiness she never had before and inexplicably befriends some of her bullies. They're actually kind of nice, while Edie's the one making cruel comments. As for Kian, the insta-love interest, Edie starts kissing him shortly after meeting him and abandons all logic due to her love for him. Thrown into the mix is a supernatural game between warring monster groups, as well as the Japanese gang the Yakuza, while the revenge plot goes out the window and the book becomes more about supernatural agencies, urban legends, and creepy monsters than bullying.
Mortal Danger does have some good points, such as Edie being a good friend and daughter. But the plot is very confusing, with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. It would have been more interesting had the author dug deeper into bullying and how, through Edie's own devices, things start to unravel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about bullying. What steps would you take to stand up to your bullies? Would you let someone know, such as your parents, a teacher, or another trusted adult?
Why are novels wherein the female protagonist falls instantly in love with a devastatingly gorgeous male character so popular? Does it help move the plot along, or is it a cliché best avoided?
Have you read the books in the Immortal Game series? Why do you think trilogies and longer series are so popular in young adult literature?
- Author: Ann Aguirre
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, High school, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
- Publication date: August 5, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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