Intrigue

The Maze Runner

He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, musty air.
My name is Thomas, he thought.
That…that was the only thing he could remember about his life. *

Thomas wakes up to find himself devoid of memories, surrounded by strangers-all boys like himself-and trapped inside a huge maze with no apparent way out.

If you ain’t scared…you ain’t human. *

No one remembers anything about themselves, or why they were put there inside the Maze. All they know is that they have to get out. And they’ve been trying for years.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the glade. *

Thomas is convinced that he can help them escape. But the stakes are raised when the first girl is delivered to the Maze. The message she is sent with will change the boys’ lives forever.

She’s the last one. Ever.
Everything is going to change. *

The Gladers must trust each other as they fight to stay alive. Someone put them in the Maze. And they’re going to find out why. But first they have to make it out. The Maze must be cracked. There are traitors in their midst, and time is against them. Will they be able to succeed before it’s too late? When they do, will their memories be returned to them? And what do the words on the walls of the Maze mean-World In Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department? What is going on in the world outside the Maze?

It’ll end soon.
It has to.
Thomas. *

The Maze Runner, written by James Dashner and published in 2009 by Delacorte Press, is a fascinating story of survival, friendship, and intrigue. Fast-paced and gritty, this book falls under the post-apocalyptic\futuristic genre.
I would recommend this book for ages 15+. There is some mild inappropriate usages of words and some off-color jokes, as well as intense violence and gory action. An enthralling story with amazing characters and an imaginative story world. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

WICKED is good. *

*All excerpts are taken from The Maze Runner, written by James Dashner and published in 2009 by Delacorte Press.

Firefight

My name is David Charleston.
I kill people with super powers. *

Written by Brandon Sanderson and published in 2015 by Dragonsteel Entertainment, Firefight is the compelling second installment in the popular Reckoners series. Filled with intrigue, mad superheroes, and a dash of good-humored banter, this book falls under the Superhero\Sci-Fi Action genre.
David Charleston has officially joined the band of rebels that he has dreamed about for years. They’re managed to free one metropolis from an Epic tyrant and are making plans to free other cities nearby. But Regalia, the empress of Balibar, formerly New York City, keeps interfering with their plans, sending them Epic after Epic to defeat. David is convinced that there’s more to this than meets the eye; so when Prof. Jon Phaedrus-leader of the Reckoners-decides to visit his rebel cell in Balibar, David eagerly accompanies him. Then, the Reckoners discover that a High Epic named Obliteration, one of the deadliest Epics to walk the Earth is now in Balibar and is preparing to destroy the city. Firefight, an Epic who had infiltrated the Reckoners and grown close to David, also is in Balibar. What is going on? Is Regalia plotting something that will destroy the Reckoners? And will David be able to persuade his fellow rebels that Firefight is not evil and can be trusted?
I highly recommend this book for ages 16+. There is some mature elements as well as some language and a few mildly inappropriate parts. The storyline is phenomenal, characters amazing, and super powers incredibly imaginative. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I believe in heroes. **

*Excerpt taken from Firefight, Chapter Three; Written by Brandon Sanderson and Copyright by Dragonsteel Entertainment 2015.
**Excerpt taken from Firefight, Chapter Fifty One; Written by Brandon Sanderson and Copyright by Dragonsteel Entertainment 2015.

The Thief Lord

A magical, light-hearted adventure in the tradition of Charles Dickens and Ray Bradbury; The Thief Lord-written by Cornelia Funke and published first in Germany by Cecilie Dressler Verlag and later in America by Scholastic Inc-is a wonderful novel well worth the read. This book falls under the fantasy adventure genre.
Prosper and Bo, two orphans fleeing from their aunt and uncle, land themselves in Venice under the protection of a mysterious boy everyone calls the Thief Lord. They roam the streets and canals of the city by day, and by night they sleep in an old abandoned movie theater. It’s an adventurous life; always keeping one step ahead of the police and never knowing what fortune would fling their way.
However, when the boy’s aunt hires a private detective to track the two of them down; their simple life changes dramatically. Will the detective track them down and turn their friend the Thief Lord into the police? Will Bo be taken away from Prosper by their aunt? And what dark secret is the Thief Lord keeping from his friends?
The adventures of the children will bring them into secrets that the world has long forgotten.
I highly recommend this book for ages 13+. There are some mild inappropriate usages of words throughout the story; as well as some violence and minor thematic elements. The Thief Lord is a well written, riveting adventure with enjoyable characters and a magical setting. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Fawkes

 

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,

It’s England, 1604. There is a silent war being fought in London between the Keepers and the Igniters; the Keepers are convinced that the Igniters are the cause of the Stone Plague-a plague that turns people into stone statues-but the Igniters are positive that the Keepers started it. King James, the Igniter king, once promised sanctity to the Keepers; but he went back on his word. And now the Keepers are angry. Angry enough to commit treason.

The Gunpowder treason and plot…

Thomas Fawkes is a plagued boy without a mask; the lowest of the low. When his father, the famous Keeper soldier Guy Fawkes, offers him a chance to become healed of the Stone Plague and earn his mask, he’s in. Their plan: to blow up Parliament and the Igniter king. Is murder and treason worth healing and honor? Are the Keepers really in the right, and Igniters in the wrong? And will Thomas’ participation in the plot harm the family of the girl he loves?

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ‘twas his intent

November 5th is fast approaching. And when it comes, Thomas’ choices could rule the fate of many.

To blow up the king and Parliament;

Fawkes, written by Nadine Brandes and published in 2018 by Thomas Nelson, is an amazing story of intrigue, swordplay, gunpowder, and love. This book was very well written; the dialogue was excellent and the story flowed fairly well. Fawkes would fall under the historical fantasy genre, and is at a medium reading difficulty.

Threescore barrels of powder below,

I would highly recommend this book for ages 13+. There is some action and intense scenes; as well as some mildly mature elements. A profound story with an outstanding plot and heart-wrenching twists. 4 out of 5 stars.

Poor old England to overthrow…

The Rithamist

“Lilly set the tip of the chalk against the ground and began to draw a circle around herself. Her hand shook so much that the line was unveven. Professor Fitch would have been quite displeased to see such a sloppy Line of Warding.
Scratching.
Lilly snapped her head up, looking down the hallway at the door leading to the street. A shadow moved beyond the door’s clouded window plate.
The door rattled.
“Oh, Master,” she found herself whispering. “Please . . . please . . . ”
The door burst open. A figure stood framed in moonlight, a bowler on his head, a short cape covering his shoulders and coming down to his waist.
The things flooded into the room around him. Angry, squirming over floor, walls, ceiling. Their bone-white bodies almost seeming to glow in the moonlight.
Each was as flat as a piece of paper.
Each was made of chalk.
And each was terrible.
Lilly screamed.”

*

The Rithamist, written by Brandon Sanderson was published in 2013 by Dragonsteel Entertainment, and falls under the genres of Fantasy, Gearpunk, and Alternate History.
16-year-old Joel is an ordinary student with an interest in extraordinary subjects. Rithamitics is not a subject generally studied by non-Rithamists. The Rithamists are a group of people with mysterious powers; powers that can command drawings made of chalk. Circles, lines, squares, and little creatures called chalklings are studied by the Rithamist students who will be using their knowledge to defend the American Isles from the evil chalklings that flourish on the dark isle of Nebrask. But Joel can only watch the Rithamists from afar; as he missed his chance to become one years before. His only comfort is learning as much as he can from books, until he gets the chance to study under an old friend.
Melody is a Rithamist student on the verge of failing her classes. She gets assigned to relearn her lessons under Professor Fitch; a disgraced Rithamist teacher assigned to discovering the truth behind a recent kidnapping. The kidnapped victim was a former student of Professor Fitch’s; and there was evidence to suggest that chalklings had been the cause of her disappearance. But chalklings are not that reliable; and they must have been controlled by a master of the Rithamic arts. Unless they were wild chalkings escaped from Nebrask; which if that is the case, then all of the American Isles are in danger. And there is no escape from a wild chalking.
Melody, Joel, and Professor Fitch must use all their wits and skills against an unknown foe. They must solve the mystery of the scribbles before its too late.
But it might already be too late.
The Rithamist was a highly enjoyable, exciting read. It’s written very well, and although it doesn’t have non-stop action like most of Sanderson’s other works, there are no dull spots in it. The building of intrigue and character development keeps you wanting to read just one more chapter. This book was at medium reading difficulty.
I would recommend this book for ages 14+. It was morbid at times, and a little gory; but a fun story with amusing characters and dialogue, and a brilliant story world. 4 out of 5 stars.

Airman

“Conor Broekhart was born to fly…” *
It’s the 1890s. Conor Broekhart’s greatest dream is to fly. Born in a hot-air balloon and gifted with a genius for science and experiments, it appears that perhaps he was destined to. That all changes when he is accused of treason and thrown into an under-sea dungeon. How can you fly when you’re trapped by stone walls and forced to fight for your life while trying to mine underwater diamonds? Is there any way out?
Airman, written by Eoin Colfer (made famous by the Artemis Fowl series) and published in 2008 by Disney Hyperion, features a determined boy, a young queen, a blind musician and a power-hungry marshal. Join Conor as he battles against all odds to break out of the Little Saltee Dungeon. Using the walls of his cell as his journal, Conor sketches the designs for his air machines. Flight is the only way off the Little Saltee. The Airman is planning to take to the skies. Will his plan work? Can he make it out? And will the true traitor take over the kingdom before Conor can stop him?
Airman is a fast-paced action novel, filled with fencing, gliders, intrigue, dark dungeons, poison, and treason. Eoin Colfer writes with a good mix of detail and dialogue; and there are almost no dull spots in this book. It flows smoothly and quickly, with new challenges rising at ever corner. Airman is at a medium reading difficulty.
I would highly recommend this book for flight-lovers ages 13+. There is a little bit of mild vulgarity as well as some intense action. Airman is written with a high dose of adventure and courageous tactics, well-written action scenes and enjoyable characters. 3 out of 5 stars.
*Airman by Eoin Colfer-Prologue

The Young Unicorns

Written by Madeline L’Engle and published in 1968, The Young Unicorns is a beautiful suspense\intrigue featuring an endearing family known as the Austins. We meet the Austins as they are adjusting to life in the bustle of New York City. Originally from a small county town, they are innocent to the evil that surrounds them in their new home; gangs, riots, and radical movements. Over time, the once close family begins to slowly drift apart. The children spend more time with friends than they do each other, and the father-Doctor Austin-is spending more time at his work than with his family. As a result of this, when strange things start happening to the different members of the family, they keep them secret. The mysterious appearance of a genie, the unusual actives of the Alphabat Gang, strange questions by strangers, and the secretive doings of the Head Bishop all are connected in some sinister purpose. If the Austins don’t realize what’s going on and start communicating, it might be too late to stop that evil purpose-and might even cost them their lives.
Madeline L’Engle is a remarkable author. Her writing style is very unusual; she uses little detail in the actual story but makes up for it by using plenty of detail in her dialogue. The Young Unicorns flows very well; it is not fast paced but something new is always happening to further the intrigue. I would say this book is an easy to medium read.
I would highly recommend The Young Unicorns for ages 13+. It is an outstanding story; however, there are some universalist and good versus evil themes that are difficult to grasp at times. All in all, a delightful read with excellent literature qualities and deep subject matter. 4 out of 5 stars.