What parents need to know
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?
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?