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Grey Griffins: The Brimstone Key (Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles) Hardcover – June 7, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5–8–The Grey Griffins are back in a new series, and they're off to Iron Bridge Academy, a Hogwarts-type school that prepares promising young students for the fight against the forces of evil. Once Max, Harley, Natalia, and Ernie arrive at the school (which has long been closed due to mysterious circumstances), the changelings there begin to vanish, and it becomes apparent that The Clockwork King is behind the disappearances. Max has been having realistic nightmares that lead him to believe that the mad scientist is horrifyingly merging students with clockwork creations. The authors have jumped on the steampunk bandwagon without really embracing the steampunk aesthetic. Yes, there are clockwork automatons, an airship, and a place called New Victoria where humans, pixies, and hobgoblins linger on the streets together, but the main characters are skeptical of those who embrace Victorian fashion. Despite some awkwardly inserted background information from the previous books, it is still difficult for someone unfamiliar with them to keep track of the various characters, their histories, and their roles. Fans of the “Grey Griffins” series will be thrilled to revisit their old friends in this action-packed adventure, but newcomers would benefit from starting with The Revenge of the Shadow King (Scholastic/Orchard, 2005).Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The four monster-fighting kids with superpowers who first appeared in the Grey Griffins series are now headed to middle school in this start to a new trilogy, the Clockwork Chronicles. Max, Natalia, Harley, and changeling Ernie take the Zephyr subway to Iron Bridge Academy, a private military school run by the Knights Templar, where they will join Templar children to be trained to fight monsters and their ilk. Their backstory is filled in enough to allow readers meeting the characters for the first time to pick up the action as the story unfolds: the Clockwork King is stealing changeling children to use their souls to fuel his evil machines. The steampunk infusion is interesting, but as in the previous books, flashes of creative elements and danger fizzle with fairly pedestrian writing and uneven plotting. Purchase where fans of the previous series demand it. Grades 5-8. --Cindy Dobrez
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Series: Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (June 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316045225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316045223
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lawral Wornek on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Brimstone Key is a great start to what looks like it will be a promising new direction in the Grey Griffins stories. As someone who has never picked up a Grey Griffins book before, I found this story easy to understand and catch up with. I may go back and read other Grey Griffins books now, while I wait for the next book, but I won't be going back to read them because I felt I was missing something here. That said, I probably did miss some things that devoted Grey Griffin fans will squee about. There were a few characters that were clearly making cameo appearances in this book, I assume from the previous Grey Griffin escapades, but they weren't so central to this story that I minded not really knowing who they were. Of course, there also might be a bit too much information and back story in the beginning of this book for someone who has just devoured the previous Grey Griffins series. Just because I appreciated all of the explanation and introduction of characters doesn't mean that everyone else will. BUT if you are a Grey Griffins fan, or are providing readers' advisory for one, rest assured that there is a lot after those first few chapters that Max, Natalia, Ernie and Harley were surprised about, so I'm sure you (or your reader) will be too.

This book was pitched to me as a steampunk novel for middle grade readers, and I wondered just how the writers were going to pull that off with established characters from a series set in current times. They did it wonderfully and pretty realistically. Well, maybe realistically isn't the best word given that this is a fantasy novel, but the writers did not require any ridiculous suspensions of disbelief of me in order to fit the steampunk elements into the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy on January 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was amazing. It is a mix of steam punk, science fiction, gamer and gold old mystery all rolled up in one. It was a very addictive read. I found more than once, that I did not want to put my eReader down. I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. The story is fast-paced, as we follow the young adventurers, the Grey Griffins as they begin a new adventure and begin formal training in school at Iron Bride Academy, an aviate military school run by the Knights Templar to fight evil. The grey Griffins are:

Max Sumner
Harley Eisenstein
Natalia Romanov
Ernie Tweeny

Now these three friends had a previous adventure in the original Grey Griffins trilogy. But this book stands on its own. I have not read the previous series, and this book, though alluding to events in the previous series, is self-contained. It was good enough that I do plan to go back and read the earlier series.

Yet the Griffins are drawn into a new battle that threatens not only them, but all the children at Iron Bridge. They have released an old enemy and started a new battle with the Clockwork King.

This was a great novel and highly entertaining. It was a wonderful read and I give it the highest recommendation I can. I know that I will reread it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By birdie on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was as great as the rest of their series and I hope they have more of them in the future. My daughter and nephew are 11 and they think its super...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Jenks on June 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
My summer started like most peoples summers, just camping and having fun. Then most of my family got sick. The only thing I could do is read. Grey Griffins was one of the books a friend said was good. After getting it one night I LOVED it! That night I went to sleep 12:00. I love this book because of all the excitement. GO GREY GRIFFINS!
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By Reading Teen on January 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was so excited to receive a copy of The Brimstone Key for review from the authors! I mean, just look at that cover! And I love to read books for this age with my two younger kids, and this book seemed to be right up all of our alleys! I mean, Steampunk, changelings, and Clockwork creatures....for kids? What's not to love?

This book continues the adventures of Max, Ernie, Natalia, and Harley, the group of young kids called The Grey Griffins, but I didn't feel lost having not read the earlier books. This is a new series, and a new adventure for the kids. I really loved all the different facets of this story. There are so many different elements that it would be difficult to explain them all to you. I personally enjoyed the fantasy elements. The fairies, the changelings, the clockwork creatures, and the monsters. I'm intrigued by the codex, which is a book that Max is just beginning to understand how to use. I can't wait to see what happens in the future books, to see how Max develops as a hero. I think Max had to be my favorite character in the book. I just really liked him a lot!

I think this book has so much in it that will relate to all kind of kids, tweens, teens and even adults. I know my son loved the fact that the Griffins used Round Table cards to play games, almost like Pokemon cards, only these cards took on a three-dimensional role, when the kids played the game with special goggles. He also loved the Clockwork creatures. Especially the giant Dreadnaught! My daughter really enjoyed the magical aspect of the book. Like me she loves fairies and changelings. Ernie (a changeling) was her favorite character.

With adventure, mystery, fantasy, friendship, and the possibility of death and destruction around every turn, The Brimstone Key is a must read for any book lover!

-Andye [...]
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Grey Griffins: The Brimstone Key (Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles)
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