I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Simon Thorn and the Viper's Pit by Aimee Carter
Series: Simon Thorn #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on February 7th 2017
Genres: Middle-Grade, fantasy, Action & Adventure
Source: the Publisher
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The excitement continues for the secret race of animal shape-shifters with a hero “worthy of a young Harry Potter” (Booklist Online).
Simon Thorn's life is almost unrecognizable from a few months ago. Along with a surprise twin brother and an uncle he never knew, Simon has also found his first real friends to hang out, train, and study with at the secret Animalgam Academy. The only piece missing is his mother, held captive by his evil grandfather, Orion, who's bent on taking over the five kingdoms.
To rescue his mother, Simon sets off cross-country with his friends to the reptile kingdom, battling rogue Animalgams and their own doubts and torn loyalties along the way. But if he’s going to stop Orion, Simon will need to keep him from gathering together the fragments of a terrible weapon, or the lives of everyone Simon loves will be at risk.
With action and adventure, this story is perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull.
As an adult, you never really know how enjoyable middle-grade books are going to be. But I’ve found some really great ones so I continue to read them and try to find as many that both parents and kids can enjoy together. And I’m so excited because this series is turning out to be one of those!
I enjoyed the first Simon Thorn book but as an adult, I didn’t love it. It was a little too young for me. But for middle-grade readers, I still think it was a great start to a series. Simon spent much of the book figuring out who he was in the Animalgam world and who his friends were and his family. Series starters can be rough, just like pilot episodes, and this one was no different. There was a lot of set-up for this new world Simon was learning about. And I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. After having read the second one, I can say I enjoyed it much more and am really looking forward to seeing more of this story and the characters!
The second book follows Simon as he searches for his mom who was taken by Orion, his grandfather. There’s a lot of backstory that I won’t get into here but there’s a magical item that needs to be put back together that will give the owner lots of power and many people are searching for the pieces. They were separated by the different animal kingdoms and his mother knows where they are and his grandfather wants the pieces. But Simon wants his mom back. So he and a few of his friends go off to find her. Even though they aren’t suppose to leave the school. So it’s not an entirely original set up but it’s still fun.
This second one we get to see a lot of interaction between the friends. As they go off on their own, we see them dealing with navigating the real world while also trying to avoid the Animalgams that are trying to capture them. There are many different sides in play and the kids aren’t sure who they can trust but they stick together and try to trust one another. And that was definitely my favorite thing about the book. Just seeing these friends growing to trust each other and working together to reach their goals but also being honest with each other was so interesting. I liked that just because they were friends, they didn’t just agree with Simon automatically. They were honest with him when he wasn’t focused on the important things and they were still all friends in the end. There were some trust issues with one of the friends after the end of the last book and they worked hard to trust each other again and be friends and it was really nice to see kids disagreeing and making mistakes but coming back together and being friends and trusting again. But it also wasn’t in an overly cheesy kind of way. It was realistic but hopeful. And I really liked that.
I think this is going to be a really great series. The second book expands Simon’s world to include more Animalgam communities and we see that there’s more at risk than even Simon was aware of. I also hope to see more develop between Simon and Malcolm and Nolan as well in the next book before we set off for another adventure!
If your kids liked Harry Potter or animal shifting adventures or fantasy series that have friends and danger, definitely have them check out this series!