Friday, August 19, 2011

Fantastic Friday: Ravenwood by Andrew Peters

Ravenwood
by Andrew Peters
Chicken House, 2011.
Grades 4-8
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Blurb:
Who holds the seeds to save a sky-high world?

Arborium is at risk, the sharpened blades of rival Maw poised to saw off its bark and branches. What can a poor plumber's apprentice armed with little more than a monkey wrench do to stop the chopping?

Carved into a massive, mile-high canopy, the forest kingdom of Arborium stands upon the tallest of trees. Within them, 14-year-old Ark holds the lowest of jobs: unclogging toilets. He's already up to his elbows in gunk when he REALLY steps in it. He overhears a plot echoing through the pipes: Maw, a ruthless glass-and-steel superpower, is scheming to wield its axes of evil to strip Arborium of its wood -- a natural resource now more precious than gold.

The fate of a kingdom in the filthy hands of a plumber boy?

Plunged into danger, Ark must make the treacherous climb down to the darkest roots of RAVENWOOD if there's any hope of rescuing his threatened tree home! (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9860070-ravenwood)
The cover is gorgeous. The characters are unique and interesting, and their growth seems real with the exception of a couple of places where characters do things that are very out of character and it doesn't seem quite believable.  But the world is to dream about (as long as you are not afraid of heights, like me).  I did struggle with the writing somewhat.  I'm not sure if the author just has a unique style or if the phrasing was too British, but the writing didn't flow the way it could have. 

I thought it was interesting that the author presents the reader with the experiences of not only the hero, Ark, but his archnemisis, Petronio.  By the end of the book, I felt like I understood what made each boy tick, both the good and the bad.  The plot was slower at the beginning, which makes sense, since the author has to present the reader with a picture of the world and the conditions under which it exists.  The last third of the book definitely picks up the pace, I almost felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me.  The last part of the book is also much darker, as Ark is faced with having to fight a battle he would rather not fight.  The fact is war is ugly however you look at it and Peters depiction of it feels very real.   The scenes at the end were almost to much for me, but would undoubtedly be just right for someone who doesn't mind that sort of thing.

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