I'd definitely recommend this book to a student or adult fan of children's literature... the characters are engaging, realistic enough for the now-older fans of the original series to appreciate, but still wholesome and goodhearted. None of this "gritty preteen" nonsense with this series... the author manages to keep the tone both light and emotionally engaging, weaving in real-world teen issues (friendships, first romance, social awkwardness) with honest-to-goodness fantasy. The core of Greco-Roman mythology is spot-on, lending a trendiness to what, for some readers, can be dusty traditional tales.
For the tween reader who favors (ugh) dystopian sci-fi, this series won't hold up - but for kids who are still allowed to be kids without the "edge" modern media tries to put on them, this is exactly the sort of romp to fill a snowy winter afternoon. Don't get me wrong - this isn't pat and bland. Percy Jackson's world is to, say, the dystopian realms of The Hunger Games what Spider-Man is compared to the X Men: more humorous, willing to laugh at itself, and definitely not into taking itself too seriously.
Oh, and there are educational gleanings in there, too, from the best place to find whale sharks in captivity to what was going on as Fort Sumter was attacked... happy teacher, here. The best kind of learning happens when kids don't think they ARE learning.
On the whole, I like this series... but this particular volume didn't really speak to me. I'm a fan of "furry fantasy" - but not a fan of dystopia, so this book, where the world literally crumbles at the main character's paws, didn't score high on my list. Add to that a focus on the very real death and carnage of a major geologic upheaval, and some parts are genuinely grim.
Erik Davies does a good job with straight narrative, but I find that his voices can be a bit inconsistent from one book to another... the wolf Heep, for example. If the story were stronger - as the past volumes were - I might have not noticed so much.
I'll stick with the series because I'm a huge wolf fan - but I'm hoping that this was an anomaly in an otherwise sound tween fantasy series.
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