From School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A young teen who is descended from mythological beings and has extraordinary powers is trained in a secret facility with others like him. He finds himself on the run with a small group of his peers, battling other supernatural beings in a race to find a powerful artifact and avert disaster. Hmm, sounds familiar. This is not The Lightning Thief (Hyperion, 2005) and the mythology is the lost city of Atlantis rather than the Greek pantheon, but comparisons with the "Percy Jackson" series are inevitable. Unfortunately, this volume hardly measures up. Jack McKinley is just not as likable or believable as Rick Riordan's protagonist, and the supporting characters are flat. There are far too many deus ex machina moments needed to move the story along (e.g., Marco falling to his death but landing just close enough to a magic waterfall to not actually die). There is plenty of action throughout, and some of it is quite original (nearly dying under a mountain of flaming bat guano is certainly "fresh"), but it is not enough to make up for the uneven plot and weak characters.-Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Part Goonies, part MacGyver, part Percy Jackson, this big series starter is sure to please readers looking for underdog heroes and their unbelievable adventures. Jack learns he has a rare genetic anomaly that gives him a unique skill, but one that will cause his death if he doesn’t receive mysterious treatments at a secretive institute along with three other young teens. Marco, Aly, Cass, and Jack are deeply suspicious of the institute’s director and his troll–like thug, but rely on them for survival—when they aren’t too busy trying to escape. Together, their skills make them a formidable team, which serves them well on their quest to find the cure for their ailment, the parts of which are located at each of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, beginning with the heart of Atlantis. The teens’ talents mirror their obvious outward appearances, but they quickly develop the heart and personality of full characters. The tension of whom to trust and why keeps readers guessing, and the quick action, high stakes, and clever solutions make this a slam dunk. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lerangis scored big as one of the 39 Clues authors, and a six-figure marketing campaign signals that this is being positioned as a tent-pole franchise. Grades 4-8. --Heather Booth
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