Parents' Guide to

The Caldera: Brotherband Chronicles, Book 7

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Slow start builds to exciting with pirates and a volcano.

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Great news for Brotherband fans: We're on voyage seven with the Heron crew and, with the help of more nasty pirates and a lava-spewing, rock-hurling volcano, it's still a worthwhile adventure. (We're not giving anything away about the explosive finale when it's right on the cover.) Readers can expect the usual meandering story opening with Stig, Ulf, and Wulf preparing for the Maktig (warrior) competition. Luckily the warm-up doesn't last as long as it does in some Brotherband books. And Ulf and Wulf twin antics are always a fun diversion.

If you enjoyed Book 3, The Hunters, you get to revisit some old River Dan pirate haunts on the way to Byzantos. And Jesper's lock picks, used so skillfully in The Slaves of Socorro, get dusted off again here. What adventure fan doesn't love a prison break? Even as action builds, more time could have been spent on the difficult relationship between Stig and his father, Olaf. It's a missed opportunity to add more depth to the story.

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