Saturday, July 13, 2013

Teen Review: Action/Adventure!

by D. J. MacHale
407 pages
Action/adventure, sci fi, mystery...a little bit of everything!
Ages 12-16?
Reviewed by Allen A.

I’ve read many of DJ’s books, especially since 10 of them are Pendragon novels, and I happen to be a long-time Traveler. That journey was a roller coaster ride, the best one any book series has ever taken me on.

I read the first installment of the Morpheus Road trilogy, and I was impressed. I hardly get scared by anything, and that book kept me up at night long after I had finished it. Unfortunately, I missed the release of the last two, and never finished the series. (I swear it wasn’t because I was too scared!)

So when I heard about SYLO, my interest was piqued. What could DJ possibly write about next? His trademark is intricate story lines and captivating journeys, and after Pendragon and Morpheus Road, I thought no other book could draw me in so easily, or have the twists and turns that I love about DJ’s style.

Boy was I wrong.

The story starts as most of DJ’s stories do. Something happens to upset the balance of a seemingly peaceful town (or universe, in some cases). But once again, DJ has found something both interesting and unnerving that makes you want to find out more about what’s happening. Without spoiling the book, I can tell you the event that sends Pemberwick Island into a downward spiral is the death of one of their star high school athletes. It’s in the first chapter, and it certainly is unsettling.

But after witnessing a strange aerial display above the island, one that ends in a powerful explosion, Tucker Pierce and his friend Quinn start to look for answers. It leads Tucker on a trail to “the Ruby,” a mysterious and potent substance that leaves more questions than answers, and as if it couldn’t get any worse, SYLO, a secret military force, invades the island.

Now at this point, it starts to get overwhelming, how everything seems completely unrelated; yet, you know they must all have something in common. DJ writes you into the story, making you feel just as the characters do, making you want to solve the mystery of SYLO. It’s my favorite part about his books: They literally do take you on a journey, page by page. Once I started SYLO, I couldn’t put it down, to the point where my parents were asking me to stop reading at the dinner table.

I can’t tell you the ending – I can only say that the last chapter left me silent for at least an hour. And it isn’t the kind of ending that wraps everything up, either. This is going to be a true trilogy, and you’ll be begging for the second volume the minute you finish the first.

I’m honored that DJ let me read this in advance, and I can’t wait to see what he cooks up next!


Editor's note: This book was just released on July 2, so it's not in the library yet, but it is on order and should be here soon! Some of us were privileged to hear DJ read from the book during his visit to the Buena Vista Library on May 7, when he gave Allen an advance reader copy (ARC) so he could write this review. Here is DJ's website if you'd like to read more.

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