Series: Seven Wonders #1
Published by Harper Collins on 2013-02-05
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Middle-Grade
Source: a Giveaway
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Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die.
Jack needs to find seven magic loculi that, when combined, have the power to cure him.
The loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and haven’t been seen in thousands of years.
Because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Colossus Rises is the first book in a series for middle-grade readers. In the beginning, we meet Jack, who I think is 13. He’s just a regular kid. Except that he’s going to die. He just doesn’t quite know it yet. In The Colossus Rises, we get to follow Jack as he learns why he’s different from most kids, meets kids that are just like him, discover the special mission he must go on, and face adventures most kids only dream of. The big question for this series is whether or not the kids can find and save all of the lost loculi before their time runs out.
My favorite thing about this book was the characters. Jack is great as a regular kid. He wants his dad to care more about him and be around more, he worries about tests at school, he wakes up late, he builds crazy contraptions that act as alarm clocks, and he doesn’t like to see the little kids get picked on. Everything he does, both before and after we learn about his condition, seem like natural actions a kid his age would take. He doesn’t seem to be super mature for his age but he’s also not dumbed down. He understands the importance of what their group is doing and he works together with his new friends to accomplish their goals. I enjoyed seeing the different characteristics and special talents of all four kids in the book. I liked that they all took care of each other and became each other’s family when they could no longer be with their own families. No matter what else was going on in the book, the pull the kids felt to each other could be felt by me. It was very nice to read about.
I also liked how well this book crafted its backstory. While the book is fantasy and everything (except the Seven Wonders) is made up, the explanation behind the kids’ condition and the loculi and the reasons they were created and why they are needed now and everything is very solid and thorough.
I think kids who read this will really enjoy the non-stop action in the book and the way the kids all work together. There are always convenient excuses for why the adults are left behind (which I think actually works for kids books much better than young adult books). There were very few down-times once the action started and some of it gets a little intense (kidnapping, near-death, scary creatures). There are also a couple emotional moments that might be hard for the younger kids. My guess is that kids who’ve read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson series will really enjoy this one as well.
Final Thoughts: For me, as an adult, I actually found the book to be about 50 pages too long. At points the action seemed to happen for no reason, neither furthering the story nor adding anything to the plot. I also found a few of the transitions to be rough. At one point we are in an airplane and the next we are in a taxi with no explanation to how we got there or what happened in between. For kids, these things are all fine. Tons of action gets kids excited and keeps them reading. But I want there to be a reason for everything that happens in a book, and in this one, not everything had a reason. But ultimately, this books is for kids and I think it was done really well for them. And I’ll definitely keep reading the series. I want to learn more about Jack and his friends Marco, Aly, and Cass. They are what really made the book work for me. I also want to learn more about Professor Bhegad and his motives. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Will he turn out to be a Snape, mean but hiding something deeper, or more of a Professor McGonagall, tough on the outside, soft on the inside? Or maybe even a Barty Crouch, Jr, appearing to be someone else to get what he wants? Or maybe he really is just a plain old good guy. There’s still a lot to learn about all of these characters and many more adventures to go on. And I’ll be there to see where they lead. I gave The Colossus Rises three and half stars and would recommend it for kids 10 and up.