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Titans Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Seventeen-year-old Astrid Sullivan lives in Detroit with her family. Her grandfather lost their home in Wisconsin, and now her father is close to losing their home in Warren County. Betting on mechanical horses called "Titans" during the summer racing circuit is the vice that cripples families, including her own and her best friend's. Unemployed factory workers struggle, and betting seems to be their only way to survive. Astrid hates the racing circuit, but she can't help but be fascinated by the Titans. After a second chance encounter with an old man, Astrid is given the opportunity to race a Titan in the summer circuit and try to win the grand prize, something that would save her family from homelessness. This is a fun, fast-paced read. Astrid is a strong character anyone can identify with: she's headstrong and has trouble trusting those around her. But she has a can-do attitude that stems from her struggle to keep her family from falling apart. The races are very lively and action-packed. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races (Scholastic, 2011) and Suzanne Collins's "The Hunger Games." VERDICT A fun addition to any library.—Faythe Arredondo, Tulare County Library, CA
*"Mind-blowingly intense." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Scott injects humor and heart for a can't-miss read. Where can I sign up for a Pandora?" -- Kiersten White, author of the New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy
"Scott holds her own in attitude and taut action, and Tella's voice is feminine, smart, and sassy. Importantly, although male-female chemistry is definitely present, the emotional drive of the novel doesn't rely on romance. Family, camaraderie, and Tella's bond with her furry Pandora companion matter just as much in getting her through the first part of her life-and-death race." -- Publishers Weekly
"Non-stop action and thrilling adventure will keep readers turning the pages... Scott captures the essence of what it means to sacrifice one's self for a loved one." -- Voice of Youth Advocates
"Tella is an especially strong and likable character, which makes this gripping adventure all the more enjoyable." -- Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
While this story is a little slow, this mainly occurs in the beginning. However, the set up in the beginning of the story is necessary for the rest of the novel. I felt Victoria did an excellent job at laying the groundwork for the story and setting its overall tone, however I did want to just get into the story where Astrid is actually taking part in the race. But once she does start participating in the races, the story takes off and you are on the edge of your seat, rooting for Astrid at every turn! Each race becomes trickier, riskier, and more daunting. There are many pitfalls along the way for Astrid, and you never know what will happen. After all, this is a race in which many risk their lives...and you have to wonder, will Astrid do the same?
I loved every character in this novel, but especially Astrid and Magnolia. Their friendship is more than a friendship. They are sisters at heart, and it showed countless times throughout the novel. Every girl should have a friend such as Magnolia. The bond between them was so strong, and I loved that this was the "relationship" of the book. Magnolia supports Astrid in her dreams and goals of helping out her family, and she never once wavers from that support. But what's more is that Astrid is determined to never give up so that she can not only help her family out, but also Magnolia's family! This was something I greatly admired of Astrid. She wasn't selfish. She was just a girl who wanted to do the right thing, and if she could achieve a dream or two along the way, why not go for it? Honestly, I found her to be a very inspirational character. You don't see many characters such as Astrid in books these days, and I appreciated that Victoria gave us such a character.
There is no romance in the story (well there is but not for Astrid), and I was very happy that this was the case. I know that some readers might want her to have someone, but for me, it would have felt out of place and it would have taken away from Astrid's character. She truly is a remarkable character that deserves to be appreciated for who she is. The lack of romance also allows the strong female friendship to stand out more!
The other relationship that is featured in this novel is between Astrid and her Titan, Padlock. I absolutely adored Padlock, and I loved the idea of the Titans in general. I found this to be so unique and different. I loved learning about them and the story behind their creation. The entire race was so thrilling and exciting, and Victoria did a great job at describing every element so that we understood the risky venture that the riders were embarking on.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to those who are fans of Victoria Scott, or those who are looking for something fun and different. I can honestly say that I have never read anything like this before! Except for the beginning, overall the novel is fast-paced and full of exciting, heart-stopping moments that will leave you rushing to the conclusion to see how the book ends. Add this to your TBR now!
Happy reading :)
Astrid is the main character and she is smart and driven and very interested in the Titan races. it's something she loves because of the horses which are a blend of animal and machine from what I understand that about 10% through. she loves The mechanics, the how and why to things so the build and the computer coding to get the animals to race and be good at what they're doing is right up her alley. it's also something that she hates because she is in a lower class family and it feels like the Titan races are where the rich get richer and poor bet all they have on the races. not only her grandfather has lost catastrophically his way of life, his home where she and her family were staying, he lost everything to betting when Astrid was young, leaving them on the streets. They were slung okay once Astrid's dad found a job at a factory but on top of it all 'dad has just lost his job.
There is the family dynamics and friendship and it was complex but fascinating to read about. As far as family dynamics go, Astrid's dad is pretty overbearing and he is bitter about not having work and it creates a rift in the family at times. Astrid has 2 sisters Dani and Zara. they all three are pretty different Dani is dating a guy and she is pretty obsessed with him and she uses barbs like he would never let them lose their house or lose their job that he would protect them against their dad. Zara is the younger sister and she depends a lot on Astrid. their mom is both present and absent if that makes any sense. she holds the family together and she make them dinner and keeps house running and listens to them but when things get tough she kind of disappears into garden which is her main hobby. as far as friendship Astrid's best friend is Magnolia and I guess that's the case in some aspects of opposites attract because magnolia is very fashion and accessory oriented but their friendship still makes it because they share an interest in watching the Titan practices and races and they have been next door neighbors for forever so that was also a glue that holds them together. Along with the fact that Magnolia's dad used to work with Astrid dad and they have both lost their job and are looking for new ones now, there is a lot that holds then together, and they know they have someone who gets it.
I also appreciated that there wasn't romance in this one. Astrid gets more focused on her family, friendship, and the help (from Rags and his friend) that comes from the most unexpected places. Most of all, she gets used to her unique Titan, and wanting to win the races, and therefore help her family and discover a lot about herself. Now, while I love a good romance, it is refreshing to have one without it. There is enough going on with the characters and the action of the Titans.
I really enjoyed watching Astrid bond with the Titan aka Padlock and realize its limits as well as hers. She wants to believe that it's just a machine and that there's no cognizance or emotions or feelings but the more she's around him the more she begins to question that. There's one moment on their first run where she completely forgets what she's doing and how to do it and they're barely dodge a tree and what she finally gets her wits about her and gets down she says she swears she sees the Titan looking at her with an expression of you're an idiot. The companionship, understanding, and respect that they formed was wonderful to watch. Astrid and Padlock had a one up relationship, they would joke and play around, but then they shared a seriousness and a vision of winning, and of the thrill of the race.
I really appreciated how Rags, Barney, and Lottie all took in Astrid and Magnolia. They offered their technical help, as well as helping them to learn to be a part of the world. Lottie is a woman that has money, but she has class, and she ended up helping them to have that as well, learning courtesy, etiquette, and also showing them when to ignore what she's taught them and to have inner strength.
I devoured this one, the alternating action and then the character building, and the family dynamic changing and evolving throughout the story. Realizing when to accept help and when to support and encourage each other.
I also loved the ending. It all came together well, wrapped up well, and I was happy with it. Some things were sad, others happy, and others hopeful. I love Scott, and will read any future books.
Source: earc from Scholastic via Edelweiss
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
Bottom Line: Couldn't put it down, loved the characters, action, and sense of family and friendship.
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