This sated my desire for further Percy Jackson books with a slightly less interesting backdrop (you can't really beat Greek mythology) in exchange for a cleverer and more introspective hero.
Ronan is easy to root for. He's a bit of an outsider, and a lot of that is because of his exceedingly strange skillset (fencing and gymnastics?) and his mother's insistence on dragging him off to every after-school activity you can think of. He takes it all in stride and lets himself get dragged from activity to activity, not realizing that perhaps his mother has plans for him other than to simply fill his time so he doesn't feel so alone.
I liked that he was thoughtful about what kind of a person he was and what kind of a person he wanted to be. Not overly thoughtful--he's a teenage boy in a life-or-death situation, after all; there's only so much introspection time available--but I felt like there was more going on in his head than one normally sees in a novel of this type, and I enjoyed that. Watching him sort out the mysteries afoot and what on earth is actually going on was fun.
Dawkins was a complete joy. He is probably my favorite character, and I can't wait to see more of him. He plays both the comic relief and the mentor roles with aplomb and panache, and he made the whole journey better in every scene he was involved in.
Greta is a spunky little thing. It is easy to draw the obvious comparison with Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series, and much like her (and Hermione before her), she is often the voice of reason. She is not necessarily the cleverest one, though, and her skillset differs from theirs in quite a few degrees. She could completely kick some ass, and I loved that about her.
The plot starts with a bang and never really lets up. There are moments of levity, but most of the focus is on moving forward and trying to figure out what is going on, with missing parents, multiple secret societies, and an entire system set up to try to prevent the end of the world. It sounds more generic than it is, and a large part is clever plotting and good characterization, which takes this book from decent to great.
I'm not sure how I've never heard of these or why they weren't coming up immediately in my desperate searches to fill the void that Percy Jackson recently left in my life, but if that type of book is even remotely up your alley, you'll love these. I'll be snagging the next one at some point very soon.
This book was provided to me for free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.