As I was reading this book, I kept thinking about Harry Potter…three school chums, one a highly intelligent female, one a somewhat ponderous male, and the other an instant celebrity after the death of his parents, whom by working together, hope to solve mysteries and bring back the hero’s dead parents. For me, this was a good thing since I adore Harry Potter, and delight in intellectually superior female characters! The similarities end there for the most part, and the rest of the story is highly original, with a slight steampunk flair and subtle references to the historical backdrop of World War I. Although I would not necessarily recommend this book for all adults since the main characters are only thirteen (which does make some of the plot seem very juvenile), I would definitely recommend it for middle and high school students who like a good book!
What I loved about this book is that it has a well crafted fantasy world, that melds easily with the world we know. For example, the idea that the League of Nations was created due to urgings from the good karma crusaders absolutely tickled me! The plot flowed well, and at a fast pace, from the first page to the last page. By the end of the book the actions of the characters was somewhat predictable, in large part because they were so well developed throughout the story; I did feel like I had actually come to know them. The ending was tied up quite neatly, with an easy lead-off to the next installment in the series, without any crazy cliff-hanger (which for me is a positive).
I have already alluded to what I did not love about this book, and that was the somewhat juvenile nature of the story. Obviously with main characters that are thirteen, there is no romantic intrigue (nor should there be!), and some of the actions of the characters reek of childish bad decision making…which while realistic, is not totally my cup of tea. That being said, I must repeat that I highly recommend this for true young adult readers, and I actually do plan on reading the rest of the series, because I am definitely invested enough that I want to find out what happens! Parents: this might be a great book to read with your kids, since it is appropriate for all ages…Cole, Britten, and Sophie just might be able to follow in the hallowed footsteps of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as the subjects of a series the whole family can enjoy together!