I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The League of Seven by Alan Gratz
Series: The League of Seven #1
Published by Macmillan on 2014-08-19
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The League of Seven is the first book in an action-packed, steampunk series by the acclaimed author of Samurai Shortstop, Alan Gratz. In an alternate 1875 America electricity is forbidden, Native Americans and Yankees are united, and eldritch evil lurks in the shadows.
Young Archie Dent knows there really are monsters in the world. His parents are members of the Septemberist Society, whose job it is to protect humanity from hideous giants called the Mangleborn. Trapped in underground prisons for a thousand years, the giant monsters have been all but forgotten—but now they are rising again as the steam-driven America of 1875 rediscovers electricity, the lifeblood of the Mangleborn.
When his parents and the rest of the Septemberists are brainwashed by one of the evil creatures, Archie must assemble a team of seven young heroes to save the world.
The League of Seven is the story of Archie Dent, son of two Septemberists, a secret society dedicated to keeping the Mangleborn at bay. Archie is on his way with his parents to the secret site of the Septemberist Society, but they find that the group has been taken over by strange bugs attached to their necks. Archie escapes with his robot, Mr. Rivets and he sets out to set his parents free of the bugs that have taken them over, while trying to stop the Mangleborn from getting free.
On the way he meets Hachi and Fergus, and he realizes the three are part of the new League of Seven, a group that forms every time the Mangleborn start to rise up again. Hachi’s warrior skills are useful in dangerous situations and Fergus is the tinkerer of the group, being able to fix a lot of things. Archie thinks himself the leader of the group, but later in the book there’s a twist that reveals who he really is.
For a middle grade book, this one took me a while to get into. I took three weeks to read this one nearly, but school started so I blamed it on that at first, but really it’s just kind of a slow read. There’s peppered moments of action, but for the most part, it’s about the journey and friendship building. I’m hoping the next book will move a little bit faster and retain my attention. I did love the characters, their stories and the overall plot. Archie is going to be an interesting character to follow, I like the internal battle he is fighting towards the middle/end of the first book and I’m hoping to see more of that in the next volume.
The setting was interesting as it’s a historical steampunk setting, with submarines and devices that run on steam to fly in the sky. I especially loved Mr. Rivets, the family robot who helped save the group at times and added some great humorous commentary into the story. Hachi has a set of circus animals that are small clockwork creatures and help save the day countless times. These aspects really added to the story and made it unique.
A somewhat slow start to a middle grade adventure series, but full of interesting characters and a steampunk setting that I loved. I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of the series.