7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Dark Humour Well Done! (Not for Pig-Lovers),
This review is from: Deadweather and Sunrise: The Chronicles of Egg, Book 1 (Hardcover)
As a mother who screens everything her 13-year-old daughter reads, I was quite prepared to dislike "Deadweather and Sunrise", the first book of a new series, "The Chronicles of Egg," in spite of its lovely cover art and pirate adventure premise. Upon my initial reading, I thought Egg was just a tad judgmental about his family, his family just a tad too inexplicably violent, Millicent more than a little too unreasonably horrid to her mother (we'd just watched "Brave" in the theatres, and it's just a little too jarring, the mother-daughter issues).
Even so, I found no reason to withhold the book from said daughter - and then, when I finished reading it, it occurred to me how very clever the author is, to be able to overturn the usual formulae for middle-school fantasy and put together a form of black comedy adventure instead. I appreciated especially the errors presented as facts in the book: middle-schoolers are used by now to having chunks (sometimes) of information learnt in school inserted as part of a story, but those kids who read what is presented as truth-in-the-world in this story as such, are in trouble.
This book is important because it reminds you to question everything you read and hear - even if it's from a seemingly trustworthy source. On page 56, for example, when talking about how "smoke is critical" in lifting a hot-air balloon, if this had been a Gordon Korman book, the explanation could be reliably taken as how things really worked, but in "Deadweather and Sunrise," the smart reader should be compelled to look up more than just one alternative source for the true mechanics of hot-air ballooning. Since I don't know the author personally, I can't tell if this was intentional - but if yes, it was very clever indeed!
At the end of the day, though, I still found the characters more venomous than they needed to be, and I think the dark plot is a little darker than it needed to be, and there is a two-page pig-killing scene that reminded me of William Golding's "The Lord of the Flies." However, for middle-schoolers ready for dark comedy, this is a nice transition. Said daughter's review (also submitted to our local library for their Summer Reading Program) follows:
"'The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise' was a really funny and slightly romantic adventure book.
"13-year-old Egg has always lived on Deadweather Island. Aptly named, the island has an active volcano, orchards full of seriously ugly fruit, and, is overrun by pirates. Did I mention that Egg's siblings' favorite pastimes are beating Egg up and watching their dad beat him up?
"Then one day, Egg's family goes to visit Sunrise, an island the complete opposite of Deadweather - where only the richest paupers and richest millionaires live. There, Egg's father goes to meet a lawyer, and the dude who practically *owns* Sunrise. The dude (whose name is Pembroke) puts Egg's family into a hot air balloon ... and a tragic accident that might have been caused by Pembroke happens. What's a guy supposed to do? Well, you could:
A) Get thrown off a cliff
B) Get captured by pirates
C) Get captured by the pirates' rivals, who are also pirates
D) Get marooned on a desert island
E) All of the above
At least, that's what Egg did.
"My favorite character was definitely Egg. Most of the time, I tend to favor the main girl character. However, this time, the main girl character, Millicent, was *horrible*. She was bratty to her mum, always stuck her nose in the air, refused to believe the plain and simple facts, yelled at other people when she was annoyed, and was a general horrid nuisance. Egg, on the other hand, was nice and a bit clueless, yet brave and rather clever, for a guy who had barely any schooling. So, yes, Egg was definitely my favorite character.
"I would give the book five stars: two stars for the plot, two stars for the characters, and one star for the cover, which is *way* cute. :-)"