by First Mate Keira
Author: Charlie Fletcher
Page Count: 450
Grade Reading Level: Grades 5-8
Summary: 12 year old George Chapman is on a field trip with his class to the Natural History Museum in London. When he's removed from the rest of the class for something he didn't do, George escapes the museum and vents his anger on an innocent dragon statue and winds up breaking it. Unknowingly falling into a layer of unLondon, George looks up to see if anyone has noticed and finds a pterodactyl carving peeling off the side of the building. Rescued by Gunner, George learns that he set into motion things that have been precariously balanced for a long time and now he has 24 hours to make things right or become enslaved to the Stone of London and maybe even start a war.
Why I started reading this book:
I saw this trilogy first in the bookstore. Then I saw the trailer for Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the first thing I thought was that it was going to be this book series. It’s not, but the gargoyles in the trailer reminded me of the back blurb to the book. I immediately hightailed it to the library and put them on hold.
- Gunner a is World War 1 statue who acts as protector, guide, and friend to George and Edie as they explore the many layers of unLondon.
- I liked the world-building that Charlie Fletcher did throughout the novel. There are the good statues known as Spits that are imbued with a sort of soul by their Makers. And then there are the evil Taints which are soulless carvings that are half or all beast in appearance.
- It's very cool to learn that all the statues that Fletcher mentioned can actually be found in and around London. That would make for a very interesting tour!
- Some statues (cough Dictionary cough) use very big words which might be difficult for younger readers, but Fletcher does a good job defining them in character conversation or contextually in the sentence.
- I didn't like Edie as a character. She was too closed off, hardheaded, and stubborn to be very likeable.
- The Stone didn't really seem as sinister as it was made to sound. The Walker seems like the bigger enemy even though he's enslaved to the Stone and acts on its orders (some of the time).
- The Black Friar and Little Tragedy are very ambiguous. I don't know if I really like them or not because of this. I'm worried the Black Friar will do something to hurt the kids.
- The writing is a little stiff, generally speaking.
Rating: 3 Treasure Chests