Monday, August 13, 2007

The curse of the series

I understand very well why books in a series are so "in" right now. I just finished Atherton, the house of power by Patrick Carman, which I had no idea was the beginning of another series, and now I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the next of the series.

Books in a series, I have learned, work well when you attach yourself to the characters in a book. I think one of the big reasons Harry Potter is so popular is because JK Rowling created characters we wanted to love. Patrick Carmen does the same.

I was immediately addicted to Patrick Carman's last series (The Land of Elyon) because of the characters and the environment he creates. When I saw he had a new book out I quickly added it to my list of must reads.

Now that I am finished with the book, or maybe because I just finished reading The Giver, I found Atherton reminds me a lot of The Giver. I read another blog recently that had a hard time choosing a genre for The Giver, they called it social science fiction or dystopian/utopian fiction (depending on who you are I assume). Regardless, I would put these two books in the same category because they both have created an alternate universe, without leaving the "earth" we know as home behind.

Edgar is a young boy alone in his world, searching for something of which he does not know. We join him as he makes his journey throughout his world, always surprised at what he finds. As you read you want to help Edgar climb the walls and read the pages of his book. You want to be there for him when it seems he can't lean on anyone else. You understand why he is frustrated and want to comfort him in his loneliness. Patrick Carmen, as I believe he does best, creates a vivid and remarkable picture of the world of Atherton and all the people in it.

Even though this book is a children's book this story still raises questions about the environment, government, the limits on control those in power should have, and scientific discovery. I find that the more children's literature I read the more questions about life and possibilities are opened up for me. I think that by reading this book children can open their minds to the possibilities of tomorrow.

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