Monday, April 22, 2013

A winner -- and an exciting Middle Grade adventure!

First, I have a winner to announce. According to random.org, the winner of the signed hardcover copy of LULU AND THE DUCK IN THE PARK by Hilary McKay is:


JESS of the DMS



Congrats, Jess! Expect an email from me asking for your mailing address. The publisher, Albert Whitman, will mail the book directly to you.


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And now, back to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!



The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen (March 2013, Scholastic, Book Two in the Ascendance Trilogy, for ages 10 to 14)

Source: hardcover purchased from Children's Book World (my new favorite indie bookstore!)
 
Synopsis: Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

Why I liked it:  This is a fast-paced action/adventure novel (I don't consider it a fantasy, although the author certainly did a great job of worldbuilding when she created the three neighboring countries). There are parts where you hold your breath. And parts that make you cheer. I read this in one weekend, wanting to find out what happens to Jaron, especially when he joins the pirates. Be forewarned, these pirates have a hideout on land, so if you're looking for a ship-based story, this isn't it. I was fine with that, as I get seasick just reading about ships. But there's plenty of sword-fighting and clever hijinks. 

I loved the new characters Jennifer introduced, especially Fink and Erick and Harlowe, and the return of familiar characters from The False Prince like Roden, Tobias and Imogen. You definitely need to read The False Prince first!  

What's your favorite action/adventure novel for middle grade?
 

See also:

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger

 

26 comments:

  1. This is definitely one of my favorites. I thought it was a fantastic second book in the series that let us see Jaron as a king but he was still the adventurous, lying Sage that we love. Glad you enjoyed it too.

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    1. Yes, Natalie! You're so right: Jaron is still Sage at heart and that's what so much fun about this book.

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  2. I read both in this series recently. They certainly are action-packed. But what I love most, I think, is the way they fuse action with real, deep-down thinking the reader needs to do.

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    1. Good point, Barbara. There's plenty of that too.

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  3. I'm not much on fantasy, but I keep hearing good things about these books, so I must make time. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Lucky for you, Rosi, they're not really fantasy! At least not in the sense of dragons and magic. There's none of that. The worldbuilding I mentioned consists of creating three neighboring kingdoms (vaguely medieval), with their own money and politics, etc. But there's nothing fantastical about any of it. It puzzles me that the publisher considers them fantasies.

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  4. Interesting-- I read Elliot and the Goblin War (by this author) to my kids -- maybe I should get this series next-- they would love it. Hmmm... action/adventure for Middle Grade? I can't think of one right now. I should ask my second grader!

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    1. Hi Kat! I haven't read Elliott and the Goblin War but it sounds like true fantasy to me. By contrast, these books are all about action and adventure. Boys would love these, for sure. Especially with all the swordplay and pirates.

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  5. I have way too many middle grade adventure favorites, but I still have yet to add this book and the first one to my list.
    I hope to be able to read both of then back to back when I do.

    ~Akoss

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    1. There will be a third book, Akoss! There's a satisfying ending to the immediate conflict in this, but the ending is left open for a greater conflict to come.

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  6. I definitely want to read this series. I read ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN KING and really enjoyed her writing, so I will get to this one eventually. Maybe when they're all out so I don't have to wait for the conclusion!

    As for my favorite action/adventure, I'd have to think about that some more. There are so many good ones!

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    1. Ah, another fan of Elliot. I need to read that one of these days. Thanks for stopping by, Michelle.

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  7. I like michelleimason's idea of waiting till the third one comes out so as not to have to wait for the conclusion!

    You're new fave bookstore looks great!

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    1. Thanks, Michael. It's tiny but well-stocked and they have some fabulous signings. Too bad it's almost an hour away...

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  8. Have to go with Stormbreaker for my favorite action book ever. Have probably gone through twenty copies in the last ten years. The students read them until they fall apart!

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    1. Great suggestion, Ms. Yingling! I loved that book. So much action and cool spy gadgets too.

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  9. I need to get the first one for my son. I think it's a series he might enjoy, especially if it's told from a guy pov.

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  10. "I get seasick just reading about ships"--funny! I have no interest in pirates, so I think I'll give this one a pass. I love the classic Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, not sure if that would be considered an action/adventure novel or not.

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    1. Oh, Hatchet! Such a great story. Sure, I'd consider that adventure, at least.

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  11. I picked this one up with great excitement because I loved THe Lost Prince so much. I have to confess I got bogged down in the first third, put it down, and haven't picked it up again. but several people have said it gets better, so I think I will have to give it another chance.

    Kenneth Oppel's Sunwing books are great middle-grade adventures: starring bats. Also--these might be harder to find--Phillip Roy's Submarine Outlaw series. Not fantasy, just a kid building his own submarine and travelling around the world.

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    1. Hi Kim! Sorry to hear you got bogged down. I hope you do go back to it eventually. I've heard of Oppel's Sunwing books but haven't read them. I'm not familiar with the submarine series, but that's an intriguing premise. Thanks!

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  12. Always good to hear when a book 2 keeps the excitement going.

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    1. Well, it certainly did for me, Theresa!

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  13. I just ordered a book from Lulu series. Thanks for the suggestion. I keep seeing The False Prince and thinking I need to read it. This one looks great too! Thanks.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.