Molly's Reviews

A Gift of IceA Gift of Ice
Book 2 of the Jimmy Fincher Saga
James Dashner
Bonneville Books
Cedar Fort

Interesting read Recommended 4 stars

Fourteen year old Jimmy Fincher and his family have been staying in Japan for a week. Jimmy discovered a conspiracy of strange men trying to open a magical door later the gift of a shield in book one have made Jimmy indestructible. The disappearance of Jimmy's friend Joseph, kidnapped by winged shadows, have left him sad. The Givers, a peculiar group dedicated to helping save the world offer some hope. Jimmy and his family have spent seven quiet days in Japan when the night silence is broken by the roar of motorcycles. Enter Kenji who announces that the Bosu Zoku have come to end Jimmy's quest against the Stompers. Jimmy discovers a little black stick belonging to Kenji is more than it might first appear. The Ka are a group sent to prepare the way for the Stompers who will come and wreak awful havoc on the earth. Jimmy's dad dreams peculiar dreams, the Geezer from Oklahoma, Joseph is returned and Jimmy has a run in with a giant money before the story ends. He receives his second gift Ice and uses his new treasure to save his family when they are abandoned on board a flying helicopter. Jimmy as the leader of the Alliance is gaining in power when Joseph announces they need to locate a ship, fast. They must get to the bottom of the sea before the Tower of Three Days collapses. The Stompers are coming and Jimmy must yet receive two more gifts.

The notion that the fate of the entire world rests on the shoulders of one youngster may seem ludicrous however I have never known a child who does not think himself invincible, nor one who does not want to be a hero to his family. Thus, on the pages of "A Gift of Ice" we find a young boy, in whose hands the fate of world rests. Writer Dashner offers meritorious values of family solidarity and a passion for people in his saga of a young hero. "A Gift of Ice" presents an engaging story fittingly complex to keep them interested, while yet sufficiently easy for kids to track.

Kids will enjoy the fast paced romp beginning with Jimmy telling of the seventh day his family has spent in Japan and ending with Jimmy's desire to be given his third gift. "A Gift of Ice" show cases writer Dashner's fertile imagination in a well crafted tale of astonishing escapades and exceptional, well fleshed characters. Dialogue is filled with childish wonder and excitement. I like Joseph and his use of vernacular. He is a character much like fellows I have known. This is a book sure to please youngsters in the target audience and will be a good addition to school, home and personal libraries.

Book 3 Tower of Air is next in the series.

A Door in the WoodsA Door in the Woods
James Dashner
Bonneville Books
Cedar Fort

Engaging Read Recommended 4.5 stars

Jimmy's tale begins with a tree. It was the beginning of summer vacation, and Jimmy says it was a good day when it began. Ole Betsy was a great climbing tree, and Jimmy could hardly wait to get out to the woods behind Mrs. Jones' Place and climb that tree. Jimmy was up in his tree when the mayor Borbus T Duck Jr., of Duluth, Georgia appeared, struggled with someone then looked right up into the tree where Jimmy was almost hidden in the branches. Before Jimmy knew what was happening here came the mayor climbing right up to his hiding place in the tree. And so began some of the strangest adventures of Jimmy's life. A monster, time to see the Sheriff, held in a small room, escape, a strange phone call home all figure in Jimmy's tale. Jimmy with his backpack, five thousand dollars and his lucky Braves hat found themselves on their way to Salt Lake City, Utah. Stompers, the Gift, and more adventure are to follow. At last summer vacation, Jimmy's love for his family and a trip to Japan help him put his adventure in perspective.

On the pages of "A Door in the Woods" Writer Dashner has produced a sure to be crowd pleaser among the target audience of 9-14 set. Formidable happenings, quest, and thrilling escapades teem on all fronts in the fast paced adventure narrative. Ingeniously interwoven scenarios abound in this intricate tale of potent motivation, paradoxical predicaments and monumental encounter.

Nicely achieved characters are engaging, brilliantly depicted, voices of the predominate players are unaffected and acceptable. "A Door in the Woods" grabs reader attention at once, holds it fast right to the end in this galvanizing caper across exhilarating surroundings, pitfalls and hazards and concludes with a optimistic finish. Author Dashner nimbly seizes the vitality of challenging experience, paints a keenly focused tale in "A Door in the Woods" to bring about an smoothly perceived fast paced read filled with picturesque subjects, set and solution. Contention abounds, resolution is satisfactory, result is acceptable.

"A Door in the Woods" has a place in the home and school library. Classroom and home teachers will find the work a valuable asset for both assigned and pleasure reading in the classroom setting. Youngsters in the target audience are sure to find the book to their liking for their own pleasure reading choices. Vocabulary is well within the range of target audience, those reading on third reader level may need a little help with a word here and there.

Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.

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2005 by Molly Martin