Another home run for brooks!
From the very first page, this book reeled me in: hook, line, and sinker! it starts out with a bang when talon accidentally sets fire to the library, using magic power he doesn't understand and can’t always control. his emotions do more than run away with him whenever he’s upset: they cause terrible things to happen. orphaned since birth, talon knows he doesn't belong in a “normal” life with his foster parents, and agrees to run away with his foster sister, hattie, in search of hattie’s grandmother. what they find is a magical city under the sea that desperately needs their help to win a civil war. for me, the best aspect of this novel was the growth of the main character. at the start of the story, talon is a lonely kid with a surly attitude. i had to laugh every time he got annoyed with hattie’s nonstop chatter. but through her easy acceptance of his strange magical power, and her resolve to be his friend, no matter what, talon slowly comes around and turns into a strong leader that the other atlantian kids can look up to. while i had a hard time getting attached to the grandmother and felt her character was somewhat underdeveloped, i thought the other characters were very strong and easy for kids to relate to. my personal favorite was willy, the friendly truck driver who helps out talon and hattie. i also admired hattie for her optimism in the face of incredible odds. it gave the book a positive undertone, driving home a message of perseverance and commitment. overall, this is a great read for middle graders who like a good mix of adventure and magic! the pacing is perfect, the world imaginative and full of creativity. i really enjoyed it!