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The League of Seven Hardcover – August 19, 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Untitled Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—The Septemberist Society is a secret society that remembers the past and watches for signs that the Mangleborn might escape from underground prisons the Ancient League built for them. Septemberists exist because "people didn't want to know there were really monsters in the world" as they wait for a new League of Seven to be born to fight the ever-lurking evil in this steampunk world. Archie, born to Septemberist parents, is thrust into the middle of a massive Mangleborn uprising after his parents are attacked by tentacled, buglike manglespawn. Our reluctant hero now has his quest assignment: to save his parents, and in doing so, prevent the darkness that lives beneath the swamps of Florida from taking over the world. Every reluctant hero needs trusty sidekicks—Archie has Mr. Rivets, his Tik-Tok machine-man servant; Fergus, a boy working with Edison on "lektricity"; and Hachi, a First Nations girl who has dedicated her life to being a warrior. Together, they must battle Manglespawn monsters, armies of insect men, and Edison's assassinbot. And if they succeed? Well, as Archie would say, that would be so brass. This steampunk love-letter set in an alternative 1870s America, packs in quite a lot of action, if sometimes at the expense of character development. So many steampunk elements have been worked into book that readers may experience sensory overload. The first installment in a planned trilogy.—Meg Allison, The Moretown School, VT

Review

The League of Seven is amazingly interesting, unique, and captivating. From the steam-powered, clockwork-run 1870s setting to the persistent protagonist to the fresh takes on important historical events and figures, the novel is hard to put down. Although it is written for a middle school audience, it also provides a clean, fast-paced romp for older students who do not mind an easy read.” ―VOYA 5Q, 4P M J

“An enticing alternate history presents an America in which Native tribes have as much power and presence as Yankees, with politics of their own to navigate. Gratz has created an imaginative world with appeal far beyond its immediate middle-grade market.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Gratz works an unusual twist into the familiar teens-saving-the-Earth-from-monsters trope: The protagonist is both archetypal hero and, at least potentially, nemesis…. Action, banter and steampunk-style tech aplenty--plus truly icky foes inspired, the author acknowledges, by the creations of H.P. Lovecraft--make this an appealingly fast-paced trilogy opener.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“This hybrid of steampunk and alternate American history features a hell-raising girl's school, Atlantis, and three highly likable leads in a yarn rip-roaring from start to finish…. Moments of humor and pathos enliven the history and fantasy. Though the main plot concerning Archie's parents is resolved, there is plenty to address and discover in a sequel.” ―Booklist

“This steampunk love-letter set in an alternative 1870s America, packs in quite a lot of action.” ―School Library Journal

“A fast-paced, action-packed adventure of the best kind! The world of The League of Seven is wonderfully unique and refreshingly diverse--even the most reluctant of readers won't be able to put it down!” ―Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 740 (What's this?)
  • Series: The League of Seven (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Starscape; First Edition edition (August 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076533822X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765338228
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Yeah! I'm the first review! I love this- definitely buy it- wonderful kids literature that has elements that will appeal to everyone. The book draws from Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft with a fast paced, fun pop. If you like something fun to read and exciting, buy this! If you are an adult who read the harry potter and his dark materials books, this is a perfect addition. This book rules
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Format: Hardcover
The League of Seven by Alan Gratz

This is a YA Steampunk adventure. The setting and the circumstances should put a new twist on the way you view the world. Three barely teen adventurers and their Tik Tok jack of all trades, Mr. Rivets are all that oppose the Mangleborn monsters striving to take over the world.

The author does a good job providing age appropriate personalities to his characters. Fergus can get so wrapped up in his appreciation of his sciences that he totally misses the danger he might face. I think all of us who have worked with children and particularly very bright children have known a Fergus. Archie exhibits the insecurities that epitomize the teen years. He is a very flawed hero which, of course, makes him more believable in a very unbelievable story.

Equally the single minded Hachi is easy to understand due to the trauma she has faced. I was a bit surprised by the amount of death dealing in an novel for this young of an age group. It is appropriate to the plot but gives the story a bit more edge that may stretch the comfort factor of some parents.

Mr. Rivets' interest in a self winding device provided a delightful tongue in cheek moment. Gratz did a nice job in creating his Steampunk world.

I liked the book and recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good book. My son read it when he was in the third grade, and it's so hard to find something for kids of that age. Too often, eight year olds have to endure Magic Treehouse or suffer the stupidity of Goosebumps. My son's not into zombie and ghost stories, he hates them. He likes zeppelins and robots, and this book has all that and more. There's a bit of alternate history here, which is cool. My son blazed through this book quickly and is now onto the sequel.
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Format: Hardcover
The League of Seven is an imaginative mid school read featuring a wild steampunk world full of menacing monsters and soaring steamships. But oddly passive main characters rarely rise to meet the challenge of the worldbuilding and the horror is fairly disturbing.

In an alternate universe 1875 America, Archie Dent is the son of heroic parents: members of the Septemberist Society who have historically protected the Earth from the monstrous creatures known as Mangleborn. Although they have been suppressed for centuries, the mangleborn have found a new conduit back into the human world: electricity. The time has come for a New League of Seven: the heroes with unique abilities to appear when the world needs them most. Archie Dent always dreamed of being the leader of the League of Seven: fate may have arranged that he will assume that role and find the remaining six.

About half way through this novel, I realized I just wasn't enjoying the story. Despite the very creative reimagining of the 1875 world, I didn't get into Archie or the other characters. Gratz is a good enough author that he would take a very passive child and transform him through adversity into a hero. But that transformation was taking far too long and I had a hard time rooting for or understanding the character. Odd plot choices abounded - each one making Archie more of a unappealing, timid, crybaby than heroic. He falls asleep in great danger, doesn't run or fight but goes along with the flow, cries and shuts down with adversity, and seems more like a seven year old than pre-tween. Perhaps that was more realistic when a child is confronted with horror situations - but then again, I don't want realism in a fantastical steampunk world.
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Format: Paperback
Alan Gratz’s love for creating complex worlds and populating them with characters who readers can relate to and learn from, shines through every page of this engaging book.

Without a word of backstory, Alan immerses the reader into this fantasy world, giving you just enough information that will make you want to keep reading.

The secret entrance to the headquarters of the Septemberist Society could only be reached by submarine. Twelve-year-old Archie Dent had been there a dozen times before and still he had no idea where it was. Manhatta? State Island? Breucklen? Queens County? For all he knew, the submarine they took to the group’s secret headquarters didn’t go to any of New Rome’s boroughs at all. It might turn right around from the Hudson River Submarine Landing in Jersey and head back to Hackensack territory. And asking didn’t help either. His mother and father didn’t know where it was, or they wouldn’t tell him.

“I’ll bet the Septemberist Society is under the big statue of Hiawatha in New Rome Harbor,” he told his parents as they wove their way through the crowd down to the submarine docks. “That would be so brass!” (p. 1)

Introduction of protagonist with a voice. Check.

Introduction of a believable steampunk world based loosely on cities and states the reader is familiar with? Check.

Next comes the conflict: Enter the Mangleborn and their descendants, the Manglespawn. Monsters so horrific they can only be defeated by the superhuman powers of the League of Seven.

In the opening chapter Archie meets his first monster:

It was something else. Something black and shiny and big, bigger than Archie, with too many legs and too many eyes and a curled, segmented tail with a thick stinger at the end….
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