The Stormglass Protocol
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Stormglass Protocol follows the formula of classic spy thrillers: a mad scientist, evil henchmen, an over-the-top plan to take over the world, and a globetrotting story line. Terrorism and an environmental crisis underpin the plot. This time the heroes are kids who take on secret identities and training without their parents' knowledge. The book is closely tied to an iPad video game, which is prominently promoted on the affiliated website.
What's the story?
Jake assumes the mysterious envelopes he'd been receiving -- all marked "Highly Confidential" -- are a gimmick. But then Lizzie and Filby show up in his bedroom and tell him he's being recruited for Stormglass, a top-secret program with kids as spies. Intrigued, he goes along with them. Before he's even had a chance to train, he's drawn into a global mystery involving disappearing honeybees, dead cows and cats, and a strange new type of bee bearing a corporate logo and a fearsome stinger. Soon, he's traveling the globe, spying on a terrifyingly evil mad scientist and his henchmen and trying to sleuth out who's betraying Stormglass. It's only his first mission, but the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Is it any good?
THE STORMGLASS PROTOCOL is the literary equivalent of a popcorn movie. As Jake upends his suburban life to chase villains around the globe, you're not going to pause to ponder how he's feeling about all this. You're just going to chase after him breathlessly. There are enough cool gadgets to impress James Bond, but the kids need to use their smarts to save the day.
The story strains credulity, naturally: The villains and their schemes are goofily over the top. But the topical themes -- the decline of honeybees around the world and the threat of terrorism -- may raise some complex questions for family discussion.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Jake's parents respond when he tries to tell them about his spying activities. Is he obligated to be honest with them, or is it OK if he isn't forthcoming?
Would this story be as enjoyable if the villains were more believable?
What do you make of the book and mobile-app tie-in? Is one used to sell the other, or are they complementary?