Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Steampunk-ish Alternate New York City MG Adventure Fun and Inventive

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

New York City has always been an exciting place full of life, energy, and mystery.  In the alternate city presented in York by Laura Ruby, it's even more so.  It's all thanks to the Morningstarrs, a set of twins who arrive in 1798 to create a technologically-advanced city full of wondrous marvels the likes of which the world has never seen.  The pair realize some of their ambitions, but disappear without a trace in 1855.  Their most enduring legacy?  The Old New York Cipher, a puzzle with clues based on the glittering city itself, ostensibly leads to untold wealth.  Now, nearly 200 years since the Morningstarrs vanished, no one has come anywhere close to solving the cipher.  Many doubt its existence, seeing the whole mess as a joke left behind by troublesome pranksters.

Tess Biederman doesn't agree with the skeptics.  In fact, the 13-year-old is determined to solve the cipher once and for all.  If she fails, her family could lose the home where Bidermanns have been living for one hundred years.  She can't let her beloved building, one of the original Morningstarr constructions, fall into the hands of some soulless developer.  Especially when he's about as sketchy as they come.  Along with her twin brother and their friend Jamie Cruz, Tess will solve the cipher.  She won't stop until she's able to save her home—and that will only happen when she has the Morningstarr treasure in her hands.  Of course, it won't be easy to solve a 200-year-old mystery, especially when you're not the only one hot on the tail of an answer that leads to wealth untold ...

From its striking cover to its action-filled plot, York—the first installment in a planned series—provides a fun, inventive adventure story that has timeless appeal.  It also offers a mystery that's intelligent and compelling.  Young readers will appreciate the nod to their acumen.  They might, however, be put off by the novel's length and detail, both of which do require some patience.  Their fortitude will pay off in the end as York really is an entertaining romp.  It definitely gets long, but it's worth it.  Mostly. True, I didn't absolutely love the book—I did enjoy it overall, though. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of York from the generous folks at HarperCollins.  Thank you!

5 comments:

  1. Sometimes the length of a book puts me off, too. ;D

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    Replies
    1. Me, too. Even if it's written by a favorite author, I sometimes put off chunksters just because they're SO DANG LONG.

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  2. I was really looking forward to this one. Since I’m an adult I don’t think I’ll mind the length but I can see where that might cause a problem with its target audience.

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    Replies
    1. To be honest, I was hoping for something knock-your-socks-off amazing from Laura Ruby after BONE GAP and this isn't that. YORK is good ... just not amazing, you know?

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