If you waited in line for hours for the next Harry Potter, or stayed up late following the adventures of Percy Jackson, then you’re going to be overjoyed to know there’s a new group of heroes in the middle-grade literary world- the Selects. In Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises, author Peter Lerangis creates a whole new mythological world for kids (and adults!) to fall into…and in love with.
Jack McKinley thinks he’s a pretty average kid. He studies hard for his math tests, keeps a pretty low-profile at school, and talks to his frequent-flyer father on video chat whenever possible. Sure, he has a flare for losing nannies, but it’s hardly his fault. The only thing that is obviously unique about Jack is his penchant for devising elaborate means of waking himself up in the morning.
Flying dinosaurs, priests with tattoos and uncharted islands, oh my!
One morning, after a particularly rude awakening thanks to a flying dinosaur (no, not a real one), Jack has a video call with his dad that makes him a little late for school. During his mad rush, he runs into a bully (literally, with his bike), and things just go downhill from there. Jack loses consciousness and awakens in a hospital, where a “priest” with strange tattoos is about to give him his last rites. He loses consciousness again and wakes up thousands of miles from home on an island that no one knows about, with strange new roommates that talk in riddles (or backwards, which is pretty much the same to me!), and a Professor who informs him that he has a rare genetic mutation. Jack can only get treatment for this mutation right there on the island, and if he doesn’t get them, he dies.
What is a 13-year-old boy to do with that news? Well, trying to escape is usually the most logical plan! Unfortunately, that doesn’t go so well, and Jack grows to accept…sort of…that he’s pretty much stuck. Fortunately, his odd roommates are also in the same boat and together they try to figure out what’s happening to them, who they can trust, and what it all means.
Jack and his friends discover that they are descendents of the last people of Atlantis, and they alone, as the Selects, can bring the mythical island back to its former glory. At least that’s the story they get from Professor Bhegad. If Jack and his friends can find the seven hidden loculi, relics of ancient Atlantis that were scattered to prevent their power from being used for evil, there is a chance they may be permanently cured. During a particularly harrowing journey, Jack discovers that these relics are hidden in the locations that once held the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, and the adventure really begins.
Fast-paced adventure for tweens and beyond
Seven Wonders: Colossus Rises is a fast-paced novel that will appeal to tweens and beyond. Once it starts, it doesn’t let up until the last page, urging the reader to keep going long into the night. I finished it in about two sittings, and while I did find the kids to be a little immature at times, they are just kids, so it makes sense. Peter Lerangis’ writing style is kind of what I’d imagine James Rollins’ to be like if he was writing for kids. I’ve always loved the stories behind the ancient wonders, and I think this is a great way to introduce kids to them, which in turn can inspire an interest in history. I am really looking forward to the sequel!