The Stormglass Protocol

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Stormglass Protocol Book Poster Image
Fun spy thriller puts kids in charge of saving the world.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The plot involves the real global issue of colony collapse disorder that's causing honeybees to disappear. It may inspire readers to find out more about bees, beekeeping, and colony collapse disorder. (Note: Citing a suspect quote often attributed to Albert Einstein, a character suggests global honeybee extinction would lead to the end of mankind within four years.)

Positive Messages

The spies of Stormglass may be young, but they're just as clever and capable as adults (and often more so). For all their cool gadgets, the spies are reminded that their most useful tool will always be their brains. The young spies need to work as a team to get out of trouble and complete their mission. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jake's new job requires deceit, but he tries to be truthful to his parents, who chalk everything up to an active imagination. The three young spies work as a team. When someone tells Jake that one of them may be a double agent, he feels deeply conflicted about questioning the person's loyalty. The idea of putting kids in harm's way is a bit odd, but the adults at Stormglass respect the children and regard them as very capable and resourceful.

Violence

Villains menace the young spies with guns and threats of death. Cavalier about killing people and animals, the villain has experimented on humans. A secondary character is a terrorist who tried to bomb the Olympics and wants to attack a stadium full of people. A character recounts his parents' death in a gas explosion. The Stormglass spies don't use guns.

Sex
Language

Someone is called a "jerk."

 

Consumerism

Brand names mentioned include iPad, Segway, Temple Run, In-N-Out Burger, and McDonald's. The series' website equally promotes an iPad game as well as the book, though the print version doesn't explicitly promote the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drench an unconscious villain with alcohol to make it appear that he's drunk.

What 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.

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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.

Talk to your kids 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?

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  • Would this story be as enjoyable if the villains were more believable?

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  • What do you make of the book and mobile-app tie-in? Is one used to sell the other, or are they complementary?

Book details

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