June 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review ‘The Bane Chronicles’, and Latest from Ally Condie, C.J. Lyons, and Sarah Zettel

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Our group of teen reviewers share a pair of love letters to Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson’s desperately awaited Bane Chronicles; offer their thoughts on the second installment of the “Palace of Spies” series by Sarah Zettel; and showcase titles dealing with agoraphobia, online stalking, and a world divided between those above and below.
CLARE, Cassandra et al. The Bane Chronicles. 528p. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN: 9781442495999.
Gr 9 Up—Magnus Bane, the mysterious High Warlock of New York, has been alive for a long time and has a mysterious past, unknown to most of his companions. But in this thrilling novel, secrets and stories are revealed: of lovers, adventures, and friendships. This book helps readers understand more about the High Warlock of New York.A look into Magnus Bane’s past was a thrilling event! Hearing more about Tessa Gray and the Herondales, especially Will, was a delightful bonus. And reading all these stories helps fans make connections and better understand Magnus and his choices in “The Infernal Devices” and “The Mortal Instruments” books (both S. & S.), and certain parts felt like inside jokes with the author, which are always fun. One part I was upset about was the ending of “The Midnight Heir,” as it doesn’t tell us what happens to James or Grace. I also didn’t like that we still don’t know Magnus’s true age, and that we didn’t learn about the early years in his life. But overall, I know the fans of “The Mortal Instruments” and “The Infernal Devices” will love the stories and the book. Plus, knowing that Magnus had talked about writing this for Alec in City of Heavenly Fire makes the whole book a lot better.The stories had suspense and action and always seemed to pull you in. Also, it was all throughout history and the world, so readers get to time travel and see the world without leaving their beds.Anybody who likes books like the “Harry Potter” (Scholastic), “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” or “Heroes of Olympus” (both Hyperion), “Maximum Ride” (Little, Brown) or the “Maze Runner” (Delacorte) series would like this book, since it has the supernatural content of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and the feeling that the story could happen to any of the characters in The Maze Runner, Maximum Ride, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter books.—Julia, age 14banechroniclesANOTHER TAKE:The Bane Chronicles consists of several novellas following the long life of Magnus Bane, an enigmatic and fashion-forward warlock who makes numerous appearances in “The Infernal Devices” and “The Mortal Instruments” series. These stories tell of his interactions with mundanes, Shadowhunters, and Downworlders and often delve into Magnus’s allusions to his past life.This book was everything I hoped it would be. As a huge fan of all of Clare’s work, I have been long anticipating the paperback publication of The Bane Chronicles. The stories were funny, mysterious, meaningful, and dramatic—everything Magnus stands for. The insight they offered into some of Magnus’s canonic actions and words made me rethink impressions of characters and feel anew all of the pain and joy these series have brought me. It was really interesting to see how the Downworld thinks and more specifically, what they think of Shadowhunters. The novellas are well-written and as hilarious as ever. Magnus’s fashion takes a key role in many of the stories. And, we finally learn more about Magnus’s relationship with Ragnor Fell, Catarina Loss, Raphael Santiago, Camille Belcourt, and of course Tessa Gray is revisited.—Alexandra, age 15CONDIE, Ally. Atlantia. 320p. Dutton. 2014. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0525426448.

AtlantiaGr 7 Up—A young girl named Rio and her twin sister live in a future world where some humans moved under the sea while others stayed above to support them. When they come of age, one person from each family is allowed to go above, Bay, Rio’s sister, makes Rio promise to stay with her Below though she really wants to go above.

This book was super awesome. The constant suspicion of Maire and what really was going on with Nevio and Atlantia was intriguing. I also really enjoyed each character and their quirks and faults. I really enjoyed every part of this book and will enjoy reading it to my little sister after the review. It’s a huge “sisters” book and has a unique look at sirens and a postapocalyptic type world. ―Rhiannon O., age 16

LYONS, C.J. Watched. 320p. Sourcebooks. Nov. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781402285486.

Gr 8 Up―Jesse is being stalked by an online creep and sexually abused by his uncle. He thinks there is no way to live until Miranda, another victim of the internet stalker, discovers his identity and hatches a plan to get him arrested.

watchedI feel like there was an excessive use of dialogue, and things in the story didn’t really progress until the last 50 or so pages. The character King also didn’t have a lot of backstory; readers only learn that he was a technology stalker who knew Jesse’s uncle. The ending also was not summed up very well―how could King’s real identity have been that of the man in a coma? How was Miranda/Ariel’s agoraphobia overcome so quickly? What were her struggles with it in the epilogue? Who were the other victims/hackers Miranda recruited to help and what were their stories? There was too much useless repetitive dialogue and I would have liked to see interactions with more characters.

This was not a compelling read. There aren’t a lot of action verbs or adjectives used in the book. I sort of felt like I was reading from a day in the life of a normal average teenage boy, with random snippets of his conversations. Overall it was quite a boring read. People who like dramatic books might enjoy this.―Sophie, age 14

ZETTEL, Sarah. Dangerous Deceptions. 384p. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780544074095.

dangerousdeceptionsGr 8 Up―Peggy Fitzroy is an underage girl, not fit to take care of herself solitarily. Her uncle has unwillingly taken her in, but only under one accord: she must marry Sebastian. Together with Olivia, her cousin, and Matthew, her lover, the three of them go to find out the truths of her uncle’s plans.

This book has an interesting plot and is well executed (when referring to all the different aspects and plot lines that add to the overall drama). However, I’m not very attached to the main characters. I feel like they don’t have much individual personality.

I found the most interesting aspect of the book to be when Olivia started to learn more about Peggy. For example, when Olivia “danced” with Monsieur Janvier (as a self-defense lesson), she was surprised (and a little angered) at her. Also, she discovered Peggy’s more mischievous and cunning side, as shown when the latter used card tricks to get what she wanted.

I would recommend this book to teenagers and young adults, especially ones who prefer drama and mystery.― Mindy L., age 14



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