on May 30, 2012
I read children's books for a living and Deadweather & Sunrise was hands down the best book I read last year. This middle grade adventure has elements of classic children's literature, but with a humor and quirk all its own. It stands out for many reasons, but I think most of all for the voice -- the voice of Egg, the often beat up youngest child of a citrus fruit farmer on the Island of Deadweather, otherwise inhabited solely by pirates. It reminds me of THE 21 BALLOONS and even a little bit of a middle grade Kurt Vonnegut's CAT'S CRADLE, in that it has an exotic, ridiculous island setting with twinkles of oddity and mischief throughout. And the characters are so rich, especially the lively and disgusting and ever-surprising pirates. My favorite character, though, is Guts, a scrapping, one armed cabin boy who is supposed to fight Egg to the death but instead becomes his most loyal friend. This is a wonderfully fun adventure that is perfect for readers of Rick Riordan (who recommends it on his blog, by the way).
on July 5, 2012
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. :-)"
on June 6, 2012
I started reading this book to my kids at bedtime (six and four) but consuming it just a few pages at a time was getting frustrating ... so I absconded with it and have been skipping ahead and reading it just for myself. And loving it. It is smart, wonderfully told, hilariously funny, with charming characters and an inventive storyline. I suppose it's a book for kids judging from the cover but it's totally entertaining to me as an adult (perhaps that speaks more about me than the book). Think Princess Bride. I'm planning to give it as a gift to friends with kids (and some without kids) and can't wait for the rest of the series to come out. The most delightful book I've read in a long time.
on June 5, 2012
I have come across so many unimaginative books lately, that I was a bit skeptical when I started reading this book. The synopsis sounded wonderful, but I have been fooled quite a bit lately by those, so I was crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. I got what I was hoping for. This was an original storyline, full of fun characters, action-filled story lines, suspense, humor, fun, excitement, and mystery.
Egbert grew up in a family that never really seemed to care for him much, you see, his mother died giving birth to him, and his siblings blamed her death on him. They all live on a dirty island surrounded by pirates (none of which look like Johnny Depp) and a farm full of ugly fruit. Egbert's life soon changes when they make an unexpected trip to Sunrise - and not only does he get a new name, Egg - but his outlook on things changes as well. I really wish I could give you a better summary than that, but saying anymore really would give away things that I feel would be unfair to you as a potential reader of this book. There are so many things that happen, that you will not want to put the book down. I know I didn't.
I think this book would be VERY appealing to boys and still interest the girls as well. Millicent is a very strong female character in the book, and I'm sure the girls will love her, and the boys... well, what in here is NOT to like for them? There are pirates, daring escapes, fights to the death, pig manure, hidden secrets, and more pirates.
The author did an amazing job keeping the reader entranced in the world, always wondering what would happen next, and giving us plenty to look forward to while keeping the pace steady. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review. And I will say, this book earned all four of these stars. Very well done. I'm looking forward to book two in this series!!
on June 19, 2012
Do you have kids? Do you love pirates? Do you have pirates who love kids? Whatever your situation, you will want to buy Geoff Rodkey's book. It has all the elements of the classic child's adventure story: young love, buried treasure, mortal peril, abusive siblings, poor hygiene. . . plus lots of scurvy pirates. But Deadweather and Sunrise has something more: top-notch writing. Here's just one example:
"As she took the ball, she smiled at me.
It wasn't a big smile--no teeth, just the mouth turned up at the corners, with a little crinkle of warmth around her eyes.
But it conquered me completely. As time went on, that smile became the thing I lived for--the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, the image that during even the worst moments I could call up in my mind to remind me that this was what was worth the struggle and the pain."
Add to the wonderfully evocative writing some genuine, and genuinely difficult, moral dilemmas, and you have the ingredients for a book that will stand the test of time. One quibble: sometimes the scenes rushed along at a pace more appropriate for a movie, which makes sense because the author is also a talented screenwriter. But this only stuck with me because I wanted more book, not less -- and for a kid, the pacing will be just about perfect, with an ending worthy of Huck Finn. Buy it, read it, enjoy it. . .then let your kids read it too. And hope that Geoff Rodkey is already hard at work on the sequel, because I for one can't wait to see what new adventures that will bring.
on September 25, 2012
Our 11 year old son just doesn't like to read. At all. It has been such a struggle (and heartbreak) for me as a mom through the years. The only books he has ever read of his own free will, and loved, were the Hunger Games series.
When Deadweather & Sunrise came out months ago, we had heard from friends how great this was (their kids had loved it!) so bought it for our son... hoping he'd read it. But he didn't. It sat on his nightstand all summer. We prompted, we suggested, we bribed, and yet he wouldn't even pick it up. Then he started 6th grade a few weeks ago and his teacher required each child to read a book at home. Very reluctantly, with big painful sigh, my son finally opened this book and started reading. And... he absolutely LOVED it! He couldn't put it down! He said it's so clever and exciting and funny. He says it's BETTER than the Hunger Games (gasp). He read this book of his own free will, and was begging us to let him keep the lights on for JUST A FEW MORE PAGES...
You can't imagine our joy! We are telling every one of his friend's parents to buy it, and so I thought I'd write this review to share it with as many parents as possible.
Thank you to the author for writing such a compelling book, and from me as the mother of a boy who doesn't like to read, we can't wait for the next one Mr. Rodkey, HURRY!!
on May 31, 2012
This is a terrific book. I finished it in a day, and I can't wait for the next book to come out! I think that Geoff Rodkey's next book is going to be really interesting, especially because he let off at such a suspenseful point. I think that Egg is a really interesting character, not the least because he does miss his family, even if he never liked them much when they were around. It's a really good twist on the story, when Millicent's father (Mr. Pembroke) wants Egg dead (or at least in prison). This is a really fantastic book.
on March 20, 2013
This purchase was for a young friend, knowing that he would enjoy it as much as my grandson and I did. (We have recommended it and bought others as gifts.)
I started to read this book to check its suitability for my then 9-year-old grandson, knowing that its target readership was somewhat older. Although I was not easily won over at the beginning of the story, in short time I became interested and , as I gave it to my grandson and we read it together,became enthralled with the adventures of Egg , his family, friends and even his enemies. Although this first book stands well on its own, we are looking forward to the continuing saga of Egg, and truly think that it would make a good family film. I would recommend it to and for ages 8 and up,(with a little adult guidance for lack of life experiences and reading prowess in younger fans.)
on July 13, 2012
Deadweather and Sunrise, by Geoff Rodkey, is a good book.
My favorite character is Egg. I like egg because he is the main character.
My favorite scene is when Pembroke and egg are arguing.
I like this scene because if egg gets adopted he cannot marry Millicent but if he is not it won' t be as easy for Pembroke to get the treasure.
When is the next book coming out I really want to read it!
Oliver Wilson, age 8
on May 21, 2014
Pirates, buried treasure, adventure (and a little romance)—what more could a person want. Egg and his brother and sister grow up on a island where their dad has an ugly fruit plantation. When Dad decides to go to the city to try and decode the message he has discovered written by the early native people, Egg and his family are befriended by a wealthy merchant. Egg’s brother, sister and father are lost in a hot air balloon ride and the merchant wants to adopt Egg, but Egg, who really likes his “step-sister” decides that isn’t a good idea and the adventure begins as Egg is nearly killed by his soon to be step father, then captured by pirates and eventually ending back at his island to find the treasure. It’s clear the story will continue. I liked this book because I like pirate stories, and the book had some very funny parts.