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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey


TITLE: Deadweather and Sunrise
SERIES: The Chronicles of Egg #1
AUTHOR: Geoff Rodkey                           PUB DATE: 5/29
PUB: Putnam Juvenile                               FORMAT: ARC, 288 pgs
SOURCE: from pub for review


It's tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody's trying to kill you.
Not that Egg's life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts.
But when Egg's father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect.
Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.
Suddenly, Egg's running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he's been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy.
Come along for the ride. You'll be glad you did.

THREE WORDS: Shiver Me Timberrrs….Arrggh

MY REVIEW: Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey is what I would call a “boy book”…not that girls of all ages won’t enjoy this MG read (I did). But it has all the elements that younger male readers really seem to enjoy: thrills, chills, pirates, pirate language, a bit of gore and violence and a very relatable young hero. And I’m not complaining! There definitely needs to be more “boy books” like this one for the fickle male MG audience.

Egbert’s first thirteen years have been less than pleasant: he’s grown up on his father’s ugly fruit plantation on the ugly Deadweather Island surrounded by ugly tempered pirates; his older brother, Adonis, and older sister, Venus, are unusually cruel and unintelligent; his father pays little attention to him and his mother died giving birth to him…very unpleasant indeed. And when Egbert’s father mysteriously takes the family on a sudden trip to the fancy and beautiful Sunrise Island, things get even worse. After his family disappears in a strange balloon accident, Egbert spends three glorious weeks with the wealthy Pembrokes, including the clever and pretty young Millicent Pembroke, who dubs him Egg. But when Mr. Pembroke tries to murder Egg, the young hero must set out to save his own life and find the long buried Native treasure that Mr. Pembroke is after.

Fast-paced and not lacking in thrills and humor, Rodkey’s Deadweather and Sunrise offers readers an exciting read. Imaginative and inventive, Egg’s journey is full of scallywags, bloody battles, possibly insane best friends and even a little romance.

This is a quick read and the story moves quite fast, jumping from one event to the next in rapid procession. I liked this action-packed pace and I think it will easily hold the attention of younger readers. The exact time period and world that the story takes place in is never given, but there’s a very Victorian feel to the setting. The world-building is good, but it could have been more vivid and descriptive; especially when Deadweather and Sunrise Islands are explored and laid out for readers.

Egg is a genuinely likable hero. He’s smart and resourceful, but at times he’s a bit submissive for my liking. His family, especially his siblings, are just unbearable! They’re nasty, cruel, greedy and quite ignorant and I couldn’t bring myself to care about their mysterious “disappearance”. Millicent is a plucky, saucy little thing with a wit and tongue that is razor sharp. Sometimes her cleverness and biting wit are too much, but other times they’re irresistibly funny (such as when she ends up steering a boat in the wrong direction for hours and claims the sun must have simply risen in the wrong direction!). Egg’s new friend Gus is unpredictable and a bit unstable; honestly, he unnerved me some.

The pirates, and there are many of them, are very awesome! Rodkey definitely captures the enthralling dangerous quality of these men, drunken escapades, bloody battles and all.

Egg’s journey is exciting, although a bit over the top at times. There are definitely enough thrills and twists to keep readers captivated, but the ending was less suspenseful than I would have liked and felt contrived.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: An exciting and rousing read, Deadweather and Sunrise will appeal to the middle grade audience, especially those looking for a lot of action and adventure. This fast-paced book definitely kept me entertained from beginning to end.


MY RATING

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Purchase: Amazon / B&N 
Geoff Rodkey grew up in Freeport, Illinois, a place with no ugly fruit plantations, volcanoes, or gainfully employed pirates, although someone did briefly want to kill him when he was a teenager.He currently lives with his family on an island just off the coast of North America. He has not been to sea since an ill-fated kite fishing expedition in the Florida Keys encountered such choppy waters that his nine-year-old son threw up on his four-year-old son's head while the author was preoccupied with trying to help his seven-year-old son barf over the gunwale.



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