Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The League of Seven by Alan Gratz

   The main character in The League of Seven is a boy with hair white as snow and he is accompanied by another tween with electric power who has moving tattoos on his body and a heroine who is the best fighter of the three (in one of the epic battles in the book she goes toe to toe with a killer ninja robot). They travel around an alternate United States in a flying dirigible and in one scene battle a giant mole rat creature underground. How did all this come to pass?

    Twelve year old Archie Dent goes on a routine trip to the top secret headquarters of a secret society that his parents just happen to belong to when he makes a horrific discovery-a strange mind-controlling creature overpowers them both turning them into mindless zombies. Archie and his trusty robot Mr. Rivets, a sort of nanny-cum-valet travel through an alternate United States in order to save them. They meet Hachi, a fiery Native American girl and Fergus a boy who is obsessed with ¨lektricity" and pays a terrible price. The trio winds up together somewhat reluctantly but soon depend on each other for their very survival against powerful forces bent on destroying civilization as they know it.

Though Archie fancies himself as the leader of the group my favorite character was Hachi- a spiky young lady who is bent on revenge. She has trained herself to be the ultimate warrior and in the various fights she inevitable is the one coordinating the team. She also has some curious little toy animals that can battle bad guys or entertain a restless toddler.Gratz peels off the layers of each character just enough and does so with perfect timing as well. Nothing happens too soon and when we do learn a detail about a character it fits seamlessly into the narrative.  He uses elements from a variety of mythologies and also includes lots of historical references that will have young, inquisitive readers searching for the answers.

Read this book for the ninja robot, easily the coolest villain that I have seen in any novel fr quite some time; there is also a hilarious interlude involving the Nigerian 419 scam. This is the first in a trilogy -so far we have met three of the league seven-and if the foreshadowing is anything to go by then the other four characters are going to be awesome as well.  I cant wait for the second and third installments to arrive. I will also not be surprised if this isn't made into a movie-the robot ninja alone would be worth the price of admission.

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