Wednesday, December 29, 2010

REVIEW: The Sorcerer's Secret

Mebus, S.  Gods of Manhattan:  The Sorcerer's Secret.  New York:  Dutton.

371 pages.

Appetizer:  The third book in the Gods of Manhattan series picks up soon after the second book ends (which means there are spoilers for Sprits in the Park in the following description.  You have been warned!).  The trap that restricted the Munsee Indians to Central Park has fallen and while war has been avoided for the moment, tensions are high.  The villainous and power-hungry god Kieft has stockpiled weapons that can kill other gods and he has begun building an army.

Rory has trouble focusing on the fate of Manahatta though, when his own mother has been poisoned by Typhoid Mary and when his sister is still stuck in her papier-mache body.

When he learns that the key to saving his family may rest in also stopping Kieft, he and his friend embark on a search for information that will take them among the NYC boroughs to understand the history of the city's gods and to know how to defeat Kieft now.

*Glances back at that description* Wow, that's probably pretty incomprehensible if you haven't read either of the first two books in the series.

While I admit, I felt a little meh about the second book, Spirits in the Park, I was once again focused in on the epicness of the story for the third installment.  Bridget was back to her troublemaking ways and I was an entertained reader.  I liked the way the characters were traveling all over the area trying to put the pieces together of why Mannahatta was the way it was.  I also liked that Soka discovered hew own power.

(But having said that, the complaints I made about the first book still stand:  the entire series switches point of view way more often than is typical for children's lit and both Rory and Bridget have the vocabularies and knowledge of well-versed twenty-year-olds as opposed to those of thirteen and nine-year-olds, which is how old their supposed to be.  But they do have some relatable emotions to other children--wondering how much of a role they want their estranged father to have in their lives, wanting to save their mom, and in Rory's case, wanting to ask out a girl.)

Finishing the book, it felt like a strong close to the trilogy (assuming this is only a trilogy.  Am I making an ass out of u and me by saying that?).  The majority of the major conflicts were resolved.  But, of course, there were also some lose ends (like the promise Rory made to a pirate to help him at some point in Sprits in the Park).  It made me wonder if there would be a fourth book?  Another series set in the same world?  Something?  Maybe?  If so, give me a few weeks off before I have to read the next one.  I think I'm Mannahatta-ed out.

Dinner Conversation:

"Cesar Prince had a bad feeling about this.
He'd been called into the bowels of City Hall, deep into the maze of hallways that zigzagged beneath the ancient seat of the gods' power.  All the gods had their own rooms down here, and the older the god, the deeper the room.  Prince's own room was not easy to find, which was just as he liked it.  But even he'd never been this deep before.  The rooms down here were old, so old that most of their owners had faded away, left behind and forgotten as the city above moved ahead without them.  But Willem Kieft never forgot.  (p. 3).

"Imagine it," Kieft whispered, the locket swinging from his hand hypnotically.  "More power than you have any right to possess.  That is what I offer you."
"Are we a band of murderers now?" Mrs. Astor asked in a huff, though her eyes tracked the locket's swing hungrily.
"Not murder," Kieft assured her.  His black eyes glittered in the firelight of the dead god's room.  "I will bring war.  Righteous war against our ancient enemies.  What is more natural than that?" (p. 7).

"The Fortune Teller rose to her full height.  "Van der Donck's trail leads through the five boroughs:  Bronck's Land, which is now the Bronx, Queens, Breuckelen, which you know as Brooklyn, Staaten Eylandt, which is Staten Island, and, of course, Mannahatta.  In each borough you will find a legacy, left behind by your erstwhile God of Justice.  You must gather together the pieces of this trust and it will lead you to the root of everything, where Kieft's treasure waits.  And his treasure is the key to his downfall" (p. 56).

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

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