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The Equinox Curiosity Shop

Narrated by: Josh Hurley
Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively on Audible, an original from D. J. MacHale, New York Times best-selling author of the Pendragon series, for ages 8 and up.

Eleven-year-old Sam Calico is an excellent storyteller, inventing wild escapades, but has never had the courage to have a real adventure of his own. That is until one day when a mysterious invitation arrives along with a mechanical dog, inviting him to the Equinox Curiosity Shop - which happens to be in an abandoned building.

Despite his fears, Sam follows the instructions and boards a train to the magical Equinox Valley, where he discovers that the Nexus, which holds the world in equilibrium, is under attack. With the help of some magical toys, Sam has only 24 hours to stop the evil Khord and her twin monkeys, Castor and Pollux, from destroying Equinox Valley and his home outside along with it.

D. J. MacHale is the creator of Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? and The Outerbounds, coming soon from Amazon Studios.

©2018 D. J. MacHale (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC.

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Excruciating

I've read a lot of children's books, but this is the first one where I hate the story, hate the villain, and hate most of all - by quite a lot - the unbelievably bad "hero". Inept at everything, literally no redeeming features, successful only by accident or when other beings swoop in to save him - which is constantly - our protagonist, Sam, is not brave (at all, AT ALL), not clever, not smart, not athletic, not talented at anything (I mean literally nothing).

The good guys are syrupy good and when they win in in the end, the final scene is so full of saccharin, so appallingly cute, it made me want to throw up. And I really did want to throw up: I have never had that cliched reaction to a book before.

The world is ABSURD: Sam travels to a pristine magical valley which houses the Nexus which must be guarded by someone or the entire Earth dies. This is a machine that no one knows where it came from, guarded by two old men and their toys. Earth DIES if these toymakers fail to protect it from a not-terribly-bright girl and her evil toys.

Which brings me to the villain. She is a smarmy girl who is the only mildly interesting character but she, too, drops into stupidity once she declares the thick-as-wood, idiot, cowardly hero "smarter than I expected" when he susses out the weakness in her comically stupid plan that every listener got as soon as it was introduced at the beginning of the book.

This was agonizing to sit through. But I do want to call out the narrator who does a great job made even more remarkable by what he was forced to read.

Give this a pass. The writing is not bad for a gifted 13-year-old boy with confidence issues but terrible from an adult..

0 of 2 people found this review helpful