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Author: PJ Haarsma

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Publisher: Candlewick Press,

Material: paperback

Summary: When we last saw them, JT, Ketherea, Theodore, and Max had exposed Odran as a corrupt and tyranical Keeper. They brought peace back to Orbis 2. As a reward for their heroism, Theylar, the chief Keeper, moved the earthlings to Orbis 3 where they could relax and enjoy themselves, complete their schooling, and become active citizens. Things started out fine. Then JT’s nemesis, Switzer, whipped up fear and hatred against the earthlings as part of his plan to locate and steal Ancient’s Treasure. Are JT and his friends ready to take on another dangerous and deadly challenge? This is the third book in this fantasy trilogy.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 9 and up

Reading Level: 4.3

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is the third book in The Softwire Series. Though the author remains focused on his goal of using science fiction to capture the reluctant and/or non-engaged reader, the targeted reader might get burned out trying to keep score of the plots, subplots and characters.

Pros: Lots of action and teen-aged characters give readers a story they can enjoy. The challenges, characters, and story are believable and relevant to the reader.

Cons: The cast of characters, the number of subplots and overall pace of the book may be an obstacle for sustaining the interest of reluctant readers. Illustrations would be an asset to the works, as well.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a book that can captivate a science fiction enthusiast. It is written for reluctant readers, but with lots of characters, plots, and subplots, it may be overwhelming.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE SOFTWIRE: VIRUS ON ORBIS 1   RAIRARUBIA (The Rairarubia Tales, Book 1)   GALAHAD 1: THE COMET'S CURSE

Educational Themes: This is largely a story for recreational reading. It is intended to reach reluctant readers, and may require graphing and other visual tools to help understand all of its nuances. There are themes of good v. evil, jealousy, friendship, teamwork, and family dynamics that can be brought out.

Literary Categories: Fiction - science fiction, adventure, middle grade series, speculative fiction

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2009

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews at and No reader feedback found.


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