Book Review: Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror

Book Review: Falcon Quinn and the Black MirrorFalcon Quinn and the Black Mirror by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Series: Falcon Quinn #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 1st 2010
Pages: 496

Thirteen-year-old Falcon Quinn and his neighbors, Max and Megan, board bus number 13 for school on an ordinary day in Cold River, Maine. Only the bus doesn't take its ordinary route, and Falcon and his friends soon find themselves in an extraordinary place—on Shadow Island, at the Academy for Monsters.

With a student body stranger than the cast of any monster movie Falcon has ever seen, the academy is home to creatures and oddities of all kinds. In the academy's atmosphere, Falcon's friends begin to unleash and enjoy their monster natures, from flying with Pearl, La Chupakabra, to decaying with the "Zombie Snap." Falcon has always felt different, with his one bright blue eye and one shadow-black eye, but is he really a monster? Will he discover the other thing that makes him different when he finds himself in the Black Mirror? And when he learns that the school's mission is to teach students to hide their aberrant natures, Falcon and his friends need to find a way to fight back for their monster selves.

Bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan introduces Falcon, Max, Megan, and their band of monster friends in this first installment of a hair-raising and sidesplitting adventure of monstrous proportions.

I'm not quite sure where I found out about this series, but I remember it being reviewed as the "next Harry Potter", something that struck me because I had had several students last year ask me what to read that was like Harry Potter. So I had to give this first book a try to see what it was all about.
To be honest, it was quite how Harry Potter started, well sort of. Three students get whisked away on a magical bus to a magical school. Ah, but this is a school for monsters. All students have come of age and must learn how to become a monster first and then try to become normal again in order to be integrated back into society.
But, there are a few that would rather remain monsters, than change their names, their lives and who they are inside. Falcon finds out that he is different from those at the school. He must figure out what type of life he wants to live and whose side he is really on.
I really liked a lot of the side characters. There's the subtle love interest, a girl who turns into a wind element who Falcon knew before they were transported to the Academy for Monsters, yet starts to get to know her more once there. And also is the fiesty Pearl, a sucker of goats and a hilarious small flying character who has more bravado than a troll and really is the smallest character in the book.
The plot definitely pulls you along and it's the caught between two worlds that draws you in. Will Falcon be able to overcome what he needs to though? Will he choose family over friends?
Final Verdict:
I really loved this first book and definitely will be buying the series for my library. Can't wait to read on about Falcon's adventures.

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