It’s quite hard to discuss the plot without spoiling anything, but I will say there was never a shortage of action, and I enjoyed watching Michael travel across China as he uncovers clues about his father’s disappearance. One of the reasons I adore these sorts of globe-trotting espionage stories is because it allows me to be a virtual tourist, and with Lethal Circuit, the sights and sounds of China came alive for me. As with any spy novel, I was prepared to be double crossed by any character, so I didn’t trust anyone, but there were still a few surprises I didn’t see coming, which was lovely.
Michael. He is full of surprises!
The narration of the audiobook by Ben Sullivan was wonderful. There are flashbacks of Michael learning life lessons from his father, and he made sure to change his voice for those, and his accents were quite convincing. The pace was quick and lively, and I breezed right through the book, unable to stop it unless absolutely necessary.
The scenes between Michael and his father.
I was more than thrilled to dive back into the world of Michael Chase in the second book in the Lethal Circuit series, Blown Circuit. I don’t read a lot of espionage thrillers, though I usually have a good time when I do. I really enjoyed Lethal Circuit, and though it was nice to have the familiarity with Michael’s background, it’s definitely not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy the thrills and action in Blown Circuit (but I highly recommend it, it’s also a wonderfully exciting spy thriller). There are a few familiar faces from the last book, but Guignard does a great job of explaining their significance, so new readers (or those who have trouble remembering all the details of book one) are in the know.
Michael is still on the hunt for his father, following his clues to Istanbul, where he discovers a terrorist plot to revive a device designed by Nikola Tesla that could raze cities. After the last book, I’ve learned never to trust anyone Michael encounters, friend, foe, or stranger, but the plot twists and betrayals still managed to surprise me. Once again Guignard completely transported me to another country, and I was as much in awe of the sights and sounds of Istanbul as I was with the non-stop action and intrigue. And the action is definitely non-stop this time around—the book begins with a bang and never really lets up.
I enjoyed Blown Circuit slightly more than the last book. The suspense level was so much higher in this book, and it was tightly plotted and thrilling throughout the story. Guignard has achieved a good balance between plot, character development and action. The narrator did a wonderful job at rapidly shifting between accents, which he gets to show off pretty often, and conveying the tension and drama of the nonstop action. By the end of the book we have a satisfying resolution to the Tesla Device adventure, but still plenty of questions to keep us itching for another mission with Michael. I can’t wait to see where he goes next!
The narrator, Sonja Field, does an amazing job with the characters. I especially liked her narration of Zoe and Zak, they are exactly as I imagined them from the first book (I didn’t listen to the audio of that one, I just read it). Zoe is every bit the calm, thoughtful girl who tries to bring some reason to fantastical situations while Zak is buoyant and hyper and outgoing, not always thinking everything through, but always along for the ride. Field effortlessly switches to the gravitas of a talking elephant and a wizened old yogi, and does a very convincing villain voice as well. I highly recommend this series for fans of middle grade fantasy, especially for younger middle grade readers, and the audio, at least for book two, is a fantastic way to experience the story.
Kane Chronicles, Percy Jackson
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