What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's a fair amount of violence here, though it's not as graphic or terrifying as the previous book in this adventure series. There are explosions, sword-fighting, battles, deaths, skeletons, a mention of a character having had her finger cut off. A teen character and others drink, and cigars are smoked. The siblings are reflexively disobedient and defiant, often putting themselves and others in extreme danger -- but they are equally competent as well as very brave and clever. Readers will cheer them on as they try to find their parents -- and stay alive.
What's the story?
In 1920, having escaped from pirates in the South China Seas at the end of Operation Red Jericho, Becca and Doug, along with their uncle and his crew, sail into a typhoon and are shipwrecked on an island in the Sulphur Archipelago east of Borneo. While the crew makes repairs, they prepare for battle with the Kalaxx, vicious mercenaries hired by Pembleton-Crozier to guard his base on a nearby island. While there, they discover the monstrous device that Pembleton-Crozier is building, as well as more information about their missing parents and the history of the secret Honorable Guild of Specialists to which they belonged. But they, in turn, are discovered by the Kalaxx, and Pembleton-Crozier is determined that they'll never leave the island alive....
Is it any good?
There are many action/adventure series available for middle schoolers, but for depth, complexity, loving attention to detail, literary quality, respect for the audience's intelligence, and sheer excitement, none can hold a candle to this one. Imagine Indiana Jones written by Jules Verne, with equally competent boy and girl siblings as the heroes, and you begin to get the picture.
As in the first book, this is filled with fascinating photos, diagrams, maps, and lots more to support the rich plot. The author presents a mix of science and science fiction in great detail, and readers will enjoy taking a break from the action to pore over them. For young lovers of action who are looking for something with a little more intellectual heft, this treat shouldn't be missed.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the book being part of a series. If you've read the first book -- or third one -- of the series, which do you like better? What is appealing about reading a series? What might be rewarding about writing one? Why might a publisher be interested in printing one?
What did you think of the violence here? Is reading about violence different than seeing in a movie or experiencing it in a video game? Is there a difference if it is in an adventure book like this one, versus in a realistic novel?