Seven Wonders Book 5: The Legend of the Rift

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Seven Wonders Book 5: The Legend of the Rift Book Poster Image
Action high, character growth low in series wrap-up.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Two ancient wonders left to visit in this installment: the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus with some details about their construction and destruction. Herostratus, who burned down the Temple of Artemis, is an immortal character in this book, under the power of the Amazon warriors. Time travel is also discussed with some theories about what can and can't happen.

Positive Messages

Teamwork, bravery, and believing in yourself are overlying messages in the first four Seven Wonders books and in The Legend of the Rift. Also, even though modern-day civilization doesn't offer the magic of ancient Atlantis, there's still much worth saving.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters remain essentially unchanged in this final installment, comfortable in their roles in the group. Jack is the decision maker, Cass the walking map, Marco the strong one with the one-liners. Aly isn't around much. Cass' sister Eloise, who takes a larger role this time, finds her courage.

Violence

When real people get hurt -- from darts, bullets, spears, swords, earthquakes, floods -- the descriptions are restrained, the worst being "blood spurts from mouth" when someone the main characters know well dies. But when fantasy creatures get hurt, there's yellow gushing blood everywhere and severed veins "dangling like wires." Tense underwater scuba scene involves being swallowed by a beast and almost running out of air. When main characters get injured, and they do quite a bit, they have a quick healing tool: a Loculus. If they don't find seven different Loculi before their 14th birthdays, they will all die.

Sex

Some flirting.

Language

Name-calling: "blowhard."

Consumerism

Quick mentions: World of Warcraft, Scooby-Doo, Twinkie.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A "what's he smoking?" joke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Peter Lerangis' The Legend of the Rift is the final book in the Seven Wonders series, which sets four 13-year-olds on adventures to find seven sources of power (Loculi), each hidden in one of the ancient wonders of the world. They visit two in this installment: the (sunken) Lighthouse of Alexandria, where things get tense in the belly of a beast, and the Temple of Artemis, where Amazon warriors want to fight to the death. Thanks to a healing Loculus, the teens don't stay banged up for long. It's the monsters they fight that get the truly gory descriptions. One creature gushes yellow blood everywhere when decapitated, its severed veins "dangling like wires." The teens must finish their quest before their 14th birthdays, or the genetic mutation they all carry will kill them.

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What's the story?

Jack, Aly, Marco, and Cass just had two Loculi to collect at different ancient wonders of the world when disaster strikes: The rift opens up on Atlantis, carrying Aly and the Loculus of Strength back into ancient times before closing again. A massive earthquake then rocks the island in the present, causing the island to sway and partially sink. Jack, Marco, and Cass don't think they have much time to find the other Loculi before Atlantis disappears for good. Adding to their problems? Warring factions on the island need to make nice before they can get anywhere. When a shaky truce enables the teens to head off on their next Loculus quest, it's their most dangerous yet. The Temple of Artemis may be a charred ruin to most eyes, but to Select like them, it's a dangerous fortress crawling with supersized Amazon warriors.

Is it any good?

This action-packed final installment with lots of complicated subplots to wrap up treats characters like puppets along for the ride. If you're a fan of Michael Bay movies, you may be fine with THE LEGEND OF THE RIFT. The Amazons, giant blob beasts, and underwater escapes are exciting. But if you like to dig into the trials of characters on a hero's journey -- think Frodo in Lord of the Rings -- the depth you're seeking is just not there. Marco delivers his one-liners on cue when things are tense, Jack makes the tough decisions, Cass uses his Google Map-like brain to break out of prison, and nobody grows or changes in any way. We know that Jack is motivated by wanting his family together again, but that's as far as the character reflection goes.

While sometimes a light read is a nice break, making characters memorable and relatable is what would make this series stand the test of time. Someone who studies the seven wonders can attest: It's not just the towering monuments that endure in our minds centuries later, it's the stories of the people who built them and why.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they learned from this series about the ancient wonders of the world. Is there one you'd like to hop back in time and visit?

  • Monster deaths -- or near deaths -- get pretty gory, while human violence stays barely described. What if this were reversed? How would it change the feel of the book?

  • Will you read more by this author? How does this series compare to others, such as Percy Jackson, with a mythological bent?

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