The Ravens of Solemano or the Order of the Mysterious Men in Black (The Young Inventors Guild #2)
written by Eden Unger Bowditch
published by Bancroft Press
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I enjoy this book: You know how a few months after you settle into a relationship you start to notice all the annoying stuff your loved one does? I mean sure, you still adore him, but you really wish for the love of Pete he’d just STOP MAKING THAT NOISE WHEN HE CLEARS HIS THROAT ALREADY. Yeah. Book 2 of YIG was kind of like that for me. I still love the series–I’m going to put it right next to Harry Potter on my bookshelf–but there are just a *few* things that annoyed me this time around:
1. Lucy. Lucy is, by far, my favorite character. I love her. I want to snuggle her and bring her home with me. I also, though, want to sit her down and keep talking to her until she tells me all the, “Oops, I didn’t know this was important” bits of information she strategically reveals throughout the book. Yeah, I know it’s a plot device, and yeah, most of the time it works, but it just felt like a little much this time. You’d think at some point someone would think to just ASK her instead of waiting for her to blurt out life-saving information at the last minute.
2. The Language Barrier. So we’ve got these mysterious Men in Black who speak some sort of wibbly-wobbly English-type language that, despite her fascination with languages, Faye shows no interest in learning. We’ve also got Lucy (again), who for some mysterious reason seems able to successfully converse with the Men in Black, but who for an even more mysterious reason, no one thinks to ask for help when they need information from our black-clad friends. I might be overestimating the intellect of a group of kids, but then again, they did invent an airplane in the first book.
3. Safety. I suppose this ties in with #2 a bit, but here goes. If you, say, belong to an ancient, mysterious order founded around the idea of protecting, well, to be vague, knowledge, and if, say, the current manifestation of that protection included five young children and their teacher, would you really give them important tools and not tell them how to use them? Would you continually move them from location to location without giving them enough information to keep themselves safe should you, you know, have to use the loo (Oh, BTW, there’s a giant wild boar in the cave somewhere. No biggie, but try not to wander . . . )? Would you give them vague, barely comprehensible instructions and then let them wander around an obviously confusing location while a killer was blowing things up all around them?
…I mean, wouldn’t you at least send a guy with them?
4. Passivity. Ms. Bowditch lets a bit too much passive voice slip in this time around.
Would I recommend it: Yes. Absolutely. It’s wonderful, I loved it, and I absolutely recommend it. I’m critical of the things I love, you see.
Last fall, EFC hosted Ms. Bowditch with a spotlight of The Ravens of Solemano. She answered a few questions for us. If you would like to read her interview, you can check it out here.
About the book – from Goodreads: It has been mere days since the brilliant children of the Young Inventors Guild escaped from the clutches of the horrible Komar Romak.
They’ve escaped with their lovely and caring schoolteacher, Miss Brett; with their long-absent parents; and with their bizarre captors, protectors, or both–the mysterious men in black. And now they travel by train, destined for parts unknown.
But a note torn from the hand of a dead man in a New York tunnel guarantees that safety is an illusion. When the children’s world is blown apart, life will never be the same again.
Soon, the children–Jasper and little Lucy Modest, from London, England; Wallace Banneker, from New York, United States; Noah Canto-Sagas, from Toronto, Canada; and Faye Vigyanveta, from Delhi, India–find themselves in the ancient Italian village of Solemano, deep in a mystery that spans centuries. As they inch toward the truth of the men in black and the secrets they keep, one terrible fact remains:
Komar Romak is still out there. He’s still after them, for reasons they can’t even begin to imagine.
And he knows exactly where they are . . .
From the rolling plains of America to the wide-open waters of the Atlantic, through the Strait of Gibraltar to a remarkable village in the hills of Abruzzo, Italy, The Ravens of Solemano or The Order of the Mysterious Men in Black, the second book of Eden Unger Bowditch’s Young Inventors Guild trilogy, is an adventure like no other, as the children draw ever closer to the answers to the mysteries that surround them.