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Ice Claw (Danger Zone) Hardcover – October 12, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6–10—Extreme sport meets The Da Vinci Code as British 15-year-old Max Gordon witnesses the shooting of Brother Zabala, a Basque monk, while snowboarding in the French Pyrenees. Before the monk dies, he gives Max a pendant and entrusts him with a cryptic message about an impending disaster. Thwarted in the Junior Xtreme competition by a teen thug he calls "Sharkface," Max and his injured friend, Sayid, focus their efforts on investigating the monk's mystical prediction. Plot twists abound, as Max rescues a girl named Sophie who is stalked by mystery men who may have something to do with her father, an endangered-animal protector. Someone is framing Max for Zabala's murder and he retreats to a chateau occupied by his American competitor Bobby Morrell's grandmother. Sayid helps Max decipher some of the magic square numbers in the monk's secret code, but the pair is separated when Sayid and Bobby are kidnapped. Another clue leads Max to Morocco, where he is bitten by a monkey and convalesces at Sophie's father's animal park. When it is learned that an evil Russian physicist named Tishenko is the mastermind of an environmental cataclysm and is after Zabala's code, it is a race against the clock for Max to save his friends and avert a large-scale disaster. Reluctant readers will live moment to moment in scenes describing extreme sport action and harrowing encounters with wild animals and assassins, undeterred by the convoluted plot and underdeveloped characters. Backstory about Max's parents, including his explorer father's slow recovery from an incident in Africa, refers to The Devil's Breath (Delacorte, 2008) and the door remains open for further episodes.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
If you’re looking for pulse-pounding adventure, it’s tough to do better than Gilman’s Danger Zone series. The story follows the same model as The Devil’s Breath (2008): a maniacal evildoer’s catastrophic plans are thwarted by the ingenuity and tenacity of 15-year-old daredevil Max Gordon. This time out, an extreme sports competition leads to a chance rescuing of Sophie, a (maybe) teen femme fatale who ensnares Max in a plot involving endangered animals, astronomy, and a mysterious pendant that a monk hands over seconds before plummeting to a snowy doom. The omniscient point of view doesn’t win Gilman many style points, yet does a lot for clarity, which is his strong suit—few authors are able to depict action scenes so lucidly. And that’s a good thing, because they are literally nonstop: with the clock ticking, Max dashes from France to Switzerland to Morocco via speedboat, snowboard, paraglider, and even tiger. But it’s Max’s humanity—not only are injuries frequent, but in one scene he even cries from fear—that makes Gilman’s research and storytelling come alive. Grades 7-12. --Daniel Kraus
Top customer reviews
While I have definitely more action-packed and “keeping my butt at the edge of my seat” kind of books, I do think Max Gordon and his adventures are quite interesting as well. The main reason is because he always finds himself in a crazy situation (i.e. finding himself at the mercy of a lion/tiger or trying to escape or enter a compound by getting through some whirling blades, etc.) yet somehow always gets out of it. Especially in the first book where he was in the safari in Africa and got poisoned by a scorpion which literally has like zero chance of survival, he somehow survives. Or the part where he was able to turn himself to a jaguar or bear to get out of situations. I mean, it was mentioned how he was able to do that but it wasn’t particularly clear. It was just crazy to see how a teenage boy was able to overcome such tough situations or outsmart a professional killer (multiples times!).
The one thing I have to say that I didn’t particularly enjoy was the writing style. For the most part, it was fine but there were multiples times when the author would purposely be like “Max was in the river and was not paying attention to what was lurking behind him. A crocodile was slowly sneaking up on him and suddenly its jaws sprang open and tear into flesh.” And that’s how he ends the chapter. So obviously when you read that, you’re like “oh shit! The crocodile totally bit into Max.” And then you turn the page and it’s like “JK, the crocodile bit into the dead body that JUST SO HAPPENED to be floating next to Max.” I mean, what are the chances of that? It was just so annoying and such a letdown half the time not because I wanted Max to get hurt but I wanted to know what would happen if he did get hurt because that would seem a lot more realistic.
The one thing I can say about Max is that he is extremely resourceful and intelligent. There were times he had to get himself out of tight places or he had to help his friend get out of tight places and he would come up with an idea that I think that most people would not have thought of. It also helped that he spent the last few years at that private school where the students were taught a lot of survival skills and basic training. Though it was never really described what exactly they were training for or why the school thought these skills were necessary. To be honest, the school that he went to sounded like one of those spy schools where they train the students to become spies or whatever.
Overall, I did find the series to be interesting. There were just a few things about the overall series that could have been better and would therefore have made the books so much better. However, if you have time and you’re into survival/adventure/thriller books, give these books a chance.
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Read aloud: age 10 - 11 and older.
Read yourself: age 11 - 12 and older.
Teenager Max Gordon is a competitor in an X-treme sports challenge. Max is snowboarding alone high in the French Pyrenees when, not far away, a bald-headed monk skies furiously across the face of the mountain with enormous skill. Pursuing the monk is another expert skier, who aims his rifle and shoots the monk. As Max tries to help the monk, an avalanche is barreling towards them. In that instant, the monk screams some cryptic words, then tears a medallion with its cord off his neck, throws it at Max, and succumbs to the avalanche and his death.
Piecing clues together, Max is embroiled in a mystery that predicts a violent ecological event that will kill millions of people across Europe. What does the monk have to do with any of this? Why is it that everyone Max thinks he can trust he can't? And why is Max Gordon being accused of murdering the monk? Will Max be able to stay alive long enough to solve the mystery and avert the needless slaughter of millions of innocent people?
As fast-paced, unnerving, and action-packed as any novel for young adults can be, "Ice Claw" will grip you from the first page straight through to the last. Fans of James Patterson novels and Jason Bourne movies, be prepared: "Ice Claw" is a wild and exciting read in simply every regard.
Max Gordon and his friend, Sayid, are in the French Alps where Max participates in an Xtreme sports challenge. While practicing for the event, Max crosses paths with a monk who dies before his eyes. The monk screams out a clue with his last dying breath after saving Max's life.
Max can't forget the monk. He needs to know who murdered the man and why. With dangerous men after him, he needs help. Luckily, one of the boys he competed against lends him a hand.
Max doesn't give him the full story. He's not sure who to trust. He and Sayid, who is hurt, do their best to unravel the mystery. They can't do much because Max's face is plastered all over the news as a murder suspect.
Can Max clear his name by revealing the true murderers - before those responsible come after everyone in his life?
The sequel to THE DEVIL'S BREATH, ICE CLAW contains the same fast pace, danger, action, and adrenaline rushes as the first book. Again, Max fights against nature, his better judgment, and bad guys to stay alive. He's persistent, smart, determined, good-hearted, and lucky. The first chapter sucked me in and I was hooked for the entire wild ride.
I can't wait for the next DANGER ZONE novel!
Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel