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Invisible Things Hardcover – November 23, 2010

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–Set in 1939 Denmark, this story uses the same alternative history device as Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan (S & S, 2009), but it doesn't work here. Instead, the book is a confusing mishmash of characters with the history and science not fully explored. It is a novel more of explanation than action. Sixteen-year-old Sophie, an orphan living at a scientific facility operated by Niels Bohr, has been smuggled out of Scotland for her own safety. She's hoping to speak to Alfred Nobel about the death of her parents. After a gas and pellet attack at Bohr's birthday party and the subsequent invasion of Denmark, Sophie, her friend Mikael (undergoing some strange personality changes due to the gas), and a few of the scientists from the institute evacuate to Sweden where they stay in the same boarding house as Mikael's brother. After a rather surreal meeting with Nobel, during which she finds out that her father had successfully designed the atomic bomb, she gets confirmation that she is Nobel's granddaughter and heir. She is sent on a long journey to negotiate plans for the weapon, and to rescue Mikael, who has been hypnotized into following Elsa Blix, a weapons dealer and also an illegitimate child of Nobel's who only wants recognition of her paternity. Few readers will stick with Invisible Things to its unsatisfying and rather sudden conclusion.–Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FLα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In this sequel to the 1938 alternate-history The Explosionist (2008), 16-year-old orphan Sophie lives in Copenhagen at the Institute of Theoretical Physics. There, she is in the presence of invisible things at all times: experiments in nuclear fission, secrets surrounding her heritage, mysterious personality-changing explosives, and perhaps even love. As the threat of war approaches, Sophie and Mikael travel to Stockholm, where a changed Mikael meets with a dangerous figure from Sophie’s past, and Sophie embarks on a dangerous trek to find him. This is an odd assemblage of mystery, history—sometimes factual, sometimes invented—and a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” The complexities of the plot, coupled with the language teetering between lush and verbose, make this inventive novel a niche selection for curious readers. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006123978X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061239786
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,778,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jenny Davidson is the author of four novels and two nonfiction books about eighteenth-century British literature. She has an insatiable lifelong appetite for novels and a more recent obsession with endurance sport; she is currently training for Ironman Wisconsin. She lives in New York City, where she teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her next book, Notes on Style: A Life in Sentences, will be published by Columbia University Press in 2014.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Woodard on November 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Davidson's previous book, The Explosionist. It was full of mystery and intrigue. Invisible Things started right where the last book ended. A lot that was a mystery in the first book is revealed, along with several other secrets. Sophie was just as clever and thoughtful in the first book. I love Mikael. He was lovely and I found him really interesting. I love the alternative history that Davidson creates. It is so rich and full of people that were actually in our world. I found parts of the plot to drag on and a bit was unrealistic. Even with that I found such a unique and stunning book that catches your attention from the beginning. I highly suggest that you should read this book, it will capture your attention and bring you to a new world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liviania VINE VOICE on March 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I unfortunately wasn't able to read The Explosionist first. I dislike starting with a sequel, but sometimes it's fun to see how well the book works when you don't start familiar with the world. INVISIBLE THINGS did manage the set-up well. I liked that it was set in Denmark and other places that aren't often seen in English literature. Plus, the places were new to Sophie, who came to Denmark by way of a school in Scotland, so new readers wouldn't be lost there. The details of the steampunk world took awhile to unfold, but one paragraph in particular played catch-up nicely:

When would the dynamiteur Alfred Nobel send word that he was ready to see Sophie? . . . When Nobel did finally reach out to her, would the message be brought by her old chemistry teacher, Mikael's older brother, Arne? Would Mikael - but Sophie could hardly stand to thing about it, the idea so thoroughly and confusingly excited and shamed her - ever want to kiss her? (ARC, p. 20)

The rhetorical questions felt like someone testing out different scenarios in their mind. It also brought in things that had happened while still focusing on future action, which prevented drag.

Unfortunately, drag did occur elsewhere. Due to my current focus on my thesis, I read INVISIBLE THINGS in bits and pieces, spare moments snatched during bus commutes and waiting for water to boil. Thus, I may not be doing full justice to the book. At the same time, I just never felt compelled to sit with it longer. I'm behind on a term paper outline because I picked up Jim Butcher's
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Format: Hardcover
Its 1938, after being snuck out of Scotland, 16 yr old Sophie is living in Denmark. Sophie knows little of her parents, scientists who died in an explosion, when she was very young. She was raised by her Great - Aunt Tabitha until she had no choice but to leave Scotland. In Denmark, Sophie is staying with Fru Peterson and her son Mikael, where she's surrounded by some of the top scientist of the world.

Sophie is trying to learn the truth behind explosion that killed her parents. She really wants to speak to Alfred Nobel, their former boss. Its taking Sophie time to adjust to Denmark but there's no going back to Scotland. Everyday brings talk of a possible war.

I enjoyed Invisible Things even more then Davidson's debut The Exposionst- when readers are first introduced to Sophie. The author's language is detailed and beautiful, at times I loved losing myslef in it. Davidson did an excellent job of making Sophie's thoughts, opinions and observations very real.

"It was not so much that Sophie minded actually riding a bicycle. It was quiet enjoyable, really, once one was rolling along, so long as one did not allow oneself to become flustered when a dog took chase or a small child rushed directly out into one's path. But bicycles themselves were so troublesome and awkward! One banged one's shins on them and knocked into things as one tried to wheel them out of congested areas, and it still seemed to Sophie impossible to imagine walking and wheeling the wretched contraption at anything like a normal pace. "

"One of the things that most amazed Sophie about the institute was the unending stream of conversation, conversation exceptional in its quality as well as its quantity.
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By Yani on December 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"What if" is not the question of this book. Its more like just "What???" When I first started reading I kept looking around and going to the front to see if I had skipped something. Still, even after having completed the book I felt like there are many unanswered questions and not the good kinds that make you anxious to read the sequel. Maybe I had too much expectation for what seemed like a unique and thrilling storyline as it is described above. First, there was no mission, things happened to Sophie, she did not make anything happen. Second, while Mikael is her love interest I did not feel his back story as a best friend was formed. Also, for being mentioned in the synopsis I thought there would be a little more love or flirting going on between them, but alas nothing ::sigh::

You could tell from her writing style that Jenny Davidson is very intelligent. I usually love books that are witty and so well versed, but her writing style just irked me. The story is slow to pick up, confusing, vocabulary is foreign, and the back and forth between memories and her current thoughts just made me want to pull out my hair. Still, the novel had some good moments. Female power and all that good stuff was included, plus relevant issues on what is right and wrong when a country is at war... see below for a great quote on that topic.

Overall though, there was too much left unsaid. Like what was the point of the supernatural element? What exactly is the agency her aunt ran? What does legation mean? These thoughts consumed me even after I put down the book. And while I love a good open ending that leads to a sequel, this is one sequel I won't be picking up.

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