The Storm Tower Thief: The Lightning Catcher, Book 2

Common Sense Media says

Kids fight dangerous weather in too-mild fantasy sequel.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The series mixes weather fact and fantasy. Icebergs and cold weather patterns get extra attention in The Storm Tower Thief. Many places that shouldn't have icy weather are mentioned. Readers can get out a map and track the frantic lightning catchers around the globe.

Positive messages

Trust is a big issue for Angus throughout the story; everyone seems to be hiding something, including Angus. Teamwork and bravery are both necessary to defeat the bad guys. Good versus evil in the weather world pits those who want to study weather and help others fight bad weather against those who want to control it and use it to obtain power.

Positive role models

Angus is still growing into his hero role and understanding what it means to be a Storm Prophet. He's loyal to his friends more than the adults who want to control him, and therefore doesn't keep a secret from them after he promises he will. Dougal remains the smart and nervous sidekick, and Indigo is the most fearless of the bunch.

Violence & scariness

People are attacked by nasty "ice diamonds" that can kill if inhaled; there are injuries and people thawing in an infirmary for long periods. Angus and friends get bumps on the head and are nearly drowned. A snow bomb almost crushes Angus and his friends, and there's a fall from a dirigible onto a snowy roof. An infection called "snow boot boils" sounds pretty gross. The rest of the violence is silly weather inventions and booby-trapped books going haywire and attacking people; there's lots of running around, a small fire, and few injuries. Mentions that Dougal's mom died when he was very young, and Angus' parents are imprisoned in a castle dungeon. Talk of ice diamonds killing others in the past.

Language

One "blinking marvelous" is as close to swearing as it gets.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Storm Tower Thief is the second book in the Lightning Catcher series, which will remind you a lot of Harry Potter, only here there's a secret school of kids learning about some crazy weather patterns instead of magic. Also, the content is milder than the Potter series. In this installment there are some injuries, from fabricated blizzard conditions and a weather pattern called Ice Diamonds that could potentially kill but doesn't. The three 11-year-old characters are loyal and brave while fighting against some baddies in the weather world who want power and control. The main character's parents are being held in a dungeon by the worst of them.

What's the story?

After getting booted out of Perilous Exploratorium for Violent Weather and Vicious Storms, Angus McFangus is back at the windmill with his Uncle Max and his wild, sometimes dangerous weather inventions. He's shooing one such invention away from his breakfast when a man shows up calling himself his Uncle Jeremius. After apologies for never being around -- he's been busy for years up in the Canadian Exploratorium -- he explains he's on his way to Perilous and has been sent to take Angus back to school. Angus is ecstatic. He's ready to continue his training as a Lightning Cub. But his enthusiasm is short-lived. Perilous is in a deep-deep freeze and constantly pelted with icicle storms, and it's crawling with lightning catchers from around the world gearing up to stop icicle storms from happening in the oddest parts of the world -- places that have never seen even a snowflake before. This is clearly the work of Dankhart, the evil lightning catcher who is holding Angus' parents in his dungeon. Angus thinks the freezing hallways and blizzard preparedness lessons are bad enough, until worse hits the school: a deadly weather pattern attacking everyone right inside Perilous.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's hard to find the most appropriate weather analogy for why The Lightning Catcher stays an average fantasy series instead of a great one. THE STORM TOWER THIEF, as with the first book, certainly holds a lot of potential. Author Anne Cameron has a fine sense of whimsy and creates a fun world for the kid characters to inhabit. But for a book full of violent weather, it's paced like we're out enjoying a lazy summer afternoon -- there, that's the one. Tension doesn't build like it should. It has about 100 pages and 20 characters too many, with the extra weight taking away from Angus' heroic journey. He's the first lightning prophet in ages -- by far the coolest idea in the book. Let's hope the next book in the series will keep the focus there.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the weather. What's real in The Storm Tower Thief and what's fantasy? What else can you find out about icebergs? Blizzards? Lightning? 

  • How do you like the series so far? Will you read the next one? Fog was the big weather event in Book 1, with blizzards and worse in Book 2. What do you think should be next? 

  • What was Uncle Jeremius hiding? What did Angus fear about him?

Book details

Author:Anne Cameron
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Science and nature
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Greenwillow Books
Publication date:May 27, 2014
Number of pages:432
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Hardback, Kindle, Nook

This review of The Storm Tower Thief: The Lightning Catcher, Book 2 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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