My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A twelve year old buy would probably enjoy this. Me? Not so much. (NetGalley pre-approved me for it).
But thanks anyway, NetGalley and Random House Children's, for this free book to review!
This fast-paced, exciting, and emotionally rich fantasy novel for middle graders reads like a cross between The Phantom Tollbooth and Harry Potter.The plot was a cool idea (taking down an evil bird man) but not exactly for me. I had fun reading it, but I had zero connection to it.
How can 11-year-old Gabriel find his missing father, who seems to have vanished without a trace? With the help of Paladin—a young raven with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature—he flies to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face a series of difficult challenges and unanswerable riddles that could lead to his father . . . or to his death.
The characters, while fun to read about, were shallow (I did like Gabriel, though. He was funny and nice. Woo hoo!) But Pamela's greatest fear was losing her violin? What...?
I'm pretty sure more twelve year olds are deeper than that. Abby, on the other hand, was awesome. She was weird and she knew it. And for a little while, it bothered her. Which made her infinitely more relatable than a girl whose greatest fear is losing her violin.
I also liked Somes, but not how his relationship with his dad panned out. View spoiler by highlighting over it: He went from abusive to kind way too quickly. You'd think that'd be a difficult adjustment. Grant it, I read this as an ARC. The finished book may be different.
All in all, this was a decent book. If you're its intended audience, you might like it.
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