Thursday, October 16, 2014

League of Seven by Alan Gratz

League of Seven, one of the most fun books I've read recently, is chock full of all kinds of cool stuff that I get excited about: Lovecraftian monsters, steampunk, alternate history, mythology, secret societies, ninja robots, and giant city-crushing beasts. Honestly, this book is chock-full of the good stuff! And that's no coincidence-- when Alan Gratz talks about the book, he flat out admits it. "When I set out to write this book, I thought about all the things I thought were cool: monsters, robots, ninjas. And I decided I would just stick them all in one book and have as much fun writing as much awesome stuff as possible."

And that fun and excitement are apparent, because this adventure rips along non-stop from beginning to end.

It's about a kid living in an 1870's America very different from our own. There's no electricity (for good reason), and colonists and Native Americans have formed an alliance because Europe has become unreachable. Archie Dent's parents belong to a secret group called the Septemberist Society-- a group whose mission it is to maintain the supernatural prisons holding ancient slumbering monsters, called Mangleborn, and prevent them from returning to destroy the world humanity has built. It has happened before, to Atlantis, to ancient Greece & Rome, but every time, a group of seven has emerged to beat the Mangelborn and their beastly offspring, the Manglespawn.

Now, Archie's parents, and maybe even the whole Septemberist Society, has been taken, and Archie takes it upon himself to gather a new League of Seven, and prevent the return of the Mangleborn. But there are many who stand in his way, including scientists obsessed with the forbidden science of electricity, the foodstuff of the Mangleborn-- scientists like Thomas Alva Edison...

I've left so many exciting things out of this description-- every chapter had some surprise, from odd twists on history to little tidbits of actual stuff that happened made fresh by seeing it in this "strange but familiar" world. And the characters are fantastic, each one somebody I could read whole series about. Instead, I'll just have to settle for waiting until the next League of Seven book to come out next year, and re-read this one a couple of times just to savor every bit of dialogue, character, and world beating monster fun to be had.

(By the way, if you want to read an excerpt from the book, check it out here)


Kim Aippersbach said...

I agree, those are all the awesome things, and together in one book . . . if the author can pull it off . . . and the plot sounds like maybe he has . . . I think I must get my hands on this one!

Sarah Stevenson said...

Ooh, it sounds amazing! And I love Brett Helquist's artwork, too.