Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Middle-Grade Review: The Whisper

My son and I both loved Emma Clayton’s post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel The Roar, so we were excited when the sequel The Whisper was recently released.  It provided a satisfying conclusion to the story, though we both thought it wasn’t quite as good as the first book.  I will try to tell you a bit about the sequel without giving away any secrets from its predecessor.

As in The Roar, the setting is a dystopian future where the Animal Plague has left the world divided into two, with all humans living north of an enormous wall that circumnavigates the globe.  The poor and middle class in this world live crammed in tiny fold-down apartments or are struggling to survive in The Shadows, the dark and flooded London streets that were left behind when the wealthy, ruling class built their penthouses up above the London skyline.

The action in this book is split between twins Mika and Ellie, who are part of a brainwashed child army led by the evil Mal Gorman, and their friend Kobi, who is fleeing into The Shadows with his father to escape from Gorman’s control.  Without giving away any spoilers, most of the book is about the children revolting – how they try to evade Gorman’s mind control and somehow bring peace to their tormented world.

This novel is very much about kid power, to something of an unbelievable extent from an adult’s point of view, but middle-grade readers are sure to cheer on these brave kids as they try to outwit the adult leaders of their world and avoid war.  Like The Roar, it is action-packed and fast-paced, with lots of cool technology to add to the fun.  It is not as strong a novel as The Roar, but it provides a gratifying finale to this unique story.

309 pages, Scholastic


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