Sunday, December 23, 2012

M T Anderson

I really like M T Anderson. Not because I really like all his books, but because he expects a lot from his readers. He writes for children and teenagers, but he never talks down to them. Recently, I've read several of his books.

Burger Wuss. This is satire, similar in feel to Anderson's Feed, except that this is way more annoying and considerably less creepy. With the backdrop of a rivalry between burger chains, O'Dermott's and Burger Queen, Anthony, a "nice" guy, seeks revenge when he catches his girlfriend making out with another guy. He spends the rest of the novel trying to be an idiot and a jerk like most of the rest of the people in the book. I guess it was written well, because the characters really got on my nerves.

The Norumbegan Quartet

This series begins with The Game of Sunken Places, which I read a few years ago, in which Brian and Gregory are tricked into playing a game to decide a territorial dispute between the Norumbegans and the Thusser Horde. The Thussers are looking to invade earth and feed off the dreams of people.

In book two, The Suburb Beyond the Stars, the Thussers try to assassinate Brian who is constructing the next round of the game. Gregory's cousin has disappeared and when Brian and Gregory go to Vermont to look for her they discover that time has gone crazy and the Thussers have broken the rules of the game.

In book three, The Empire of Gut and Bone, Brian and Gregory escape the invading Thusser Horde and find themselves in the Great Body where the Norumbegans have set up New Norumbega. The boys want the Norumbegans to help defeat the Thusser. This novel is clearly a satire and my favorite of the series. The Norumbegans have become lazy and cruel especially to the mechanical people who used to serve them, but have now deserted.

In book four, The Chamber in the Sky, Brian and Gregory must find a way to call the rules keepers to enforce the rules of the game, avoid being killed by unhelpful Norumbegans and escape from the Thusser.

This is an excellent series, part adventure, part satire, part fantasy. But it's also about growing up and growing apart.

Pals in Peril

This is a middle grade series that is goofy, fun, imaginative and a bit of a spoof. It follows the adventures of Lily Gefelty, just a normal girl, Katie Mulligan, star of the "Horror Hollow" series, and Jasper Dash, boy technonaut, who also had his own series of books decades ago. I read the third and fourth books in the series. These two should be read in order, but you don't need to have read the first two books before these (although they are fun too). The two books are Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware in which our heroes must save the monks of Vbngoom and stolen museum artifacts from the agents of the Awful and Adorable Autarch of Dagsboro. And you thought there were only outlet malls and financial services companies in Delaware. In Agent Q, or the Smell of Danger, the monks are trying to help our heroes escape the Autarch's Ministry of Silence and make it safely to the New Jersey border. These books are a lot of fun with humor both kids and adults will appreciate.

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