REVIEWS

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KIRKUS REVIEW, Jason Steed

How does a boy turn into a hero? Growing up in Hong Kong, Jason never thought about it. Having lost his mother at birth, been neglected by his father and raised by a succession of nannies, Jason is drawn to the discipline of the martial arts at an early age. He conquers them one by one, earning black belts in all. Looking for new challenges, it’s not long before he’s sneaking onto the nearby naval base to teach himself to fly on flight simulators. By the time his father relocates them to England, this 11-year-old is not like the other boys at school. But it isn’t until he joins the Sea Cadets and goes on a training exercise off Jakarta that he has the opportunity to put all his training to good use. Well constructed, full of adolescent wish-fulfillment and almost believable, this is an undemanding page-turner in the spirit of Alex Rider and Co. that will appeal to parents as well as kids. Let the sequels begin. (Thriller. 12 & up)

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KIRKUS REVIEW; Archie Wilson

An accident brings a 10-year-old boy face to face with the infamous Loch Ness monster and lands him in the middle of a mystical battle for Scotland in this middle-grade novel from Cooper (Jason Steed: Fledgling, Royal Decree, etc.).

Archie Wilson’s world is in ruins. After his beloved mother is killed in a car crash, the London boy is sent to dreary Foyers, Scotland, to live with his father—a man he’s never met and knows nothing about. Yet despite the pain and sadness he feels, he senses something calling to him from the murky depths of nearby Loch Ness. While peering into the gigantic lake one afternoon, he loses his footing and tumbles into the ice-cold water. He tries to swim to the surface only to find something has “clasped his ankle tight,” pulling him deeper in the darkness. When the boy awakens later in an underwater cavern, he receives the shock of a lifetime: the Loch Ness monster is real. But rather than being a threat to humans, the gentle-hearted sea dragon (who goes by the name of Gordon) is an ally who’s protected mankind for centuries. Later, when an evil creature threatens to rear its ugly head, Gordon must decide whether to risk his freedom to save the human race again—or it may be up to Archie to tackle the dreaded Nuckelavee. This fast-paced, multilayered adventure story is ideal for young readers to curl up with under the covers. Action abounds, but Cooper also invests heavily in the emotional life of his protagonist. As a result, the day-to-day trials that Archie faces at home and in school are just as engrossing as his battles with mythical creatures. In particular, the author beautifully renders Archie’s evolving relationships with his father as well as with his friend Chloe. Overall, this story will connect with kids despite the text’s occasional copy-editing and formatting errors. Cooper masterfully plays with well-worn myths and folklore to create a new Scottish tale imbued with its own playful magic. 

Heartfelt, witty, and wonderfully original. 

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Goodreads; Edelweiss Express

Edelweiss Express, (book 2 in the Edelweiss Pirate series) This is the longest short book I've ever read. It is one that has stayed with me from the first page, and I've never been able to shake the images brought forward, the misery and suffering, the existence of evil and brutality, the sadness and desolation. We live in a culture that likes to gloss over pain and suffering, mask it with drugs and other things, and always end the story with a happy ending.
How does one deal with survival after such atrocities as that at a concentration camp? How can one have faith in the world? How can one accept that a people so closely identified with a powerful God can ever accept that God again?
To bring the true horror of the holocaust, make it real and write for young adults could not be an easy task. Bringing laughter into the very same novel at a fast pace that attracts young minds is an art not many authors can perform.
Let's be honest, this is a true young adult novel set for 9-14 year olds, no sex, no cursing, plenty of teenage pranks on the back drop of the plight of a 13-yr old boy. The author tells the story in a simple manner. The boy's faith never left him, even when one of his rescuers an Edelweiss Pirate said to him that God would not help, just like he did not save his family. Lucas replied. “You are wrong. God did help. He lead me to you,”
The author pauses and leaves us looking at two teenage boys struggling to come to terms with the situation, a bond formed between them that seemed so real.
When we think of concentration camps so often it is the gas chambers that is foremost, and never before have I read an account of the actual gas chambers. A ten-year old boy clinging to his naked parent's and his last word's. "I hope the water's not going to be cold." The events of what happened over the next three sentences were not an attempt to shock: it will go down as one of the most definitive works on Holocaust literature, yet...... It's a teen novel, full of pranks by the Edelweiss Pirates attacking the Hitler Youth. A typical good guy /bad guy situation. The novel had me laughing, crying, on the edge of my seat and most of all, more than all that. It made me think how lucky we are today.
The authors works have always been described as tenth grade standard, he's no Shakespeare but kids don't read Shakespeare.

Fledgling Jason Steed

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