Friday, March 10, 2017

Krakens and lies by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Krakens and lies is the final book in the Menagerie trilogy and this book review contains ***SPOILERS*** because the action picks up right where the second book in the series left off.  This is a series where it is highly recommended that you read the series in order!

It seems as though Logan and his new friends Zoe and Blue do nothing but move from disaster to disaster!  First they had the escaped griffin cubs that almost exposed to Menagerie to the outside world, and then someone snuck into the aviary and stole Pelly - framing one of the dragons in the process.  Just when it seems as though things might be settling down the deadly basilisk escapes putting everyone and everything in the Menageries in terrible danger.  It might have been a coincidence, a series of random mishaps and accidents, but it soon becomes clear that someone wants to expose the Menagerie - and they don't care who gets hurt in the process.

Logan is all too happy to help his new friends and the mystical animals in their care, but what he wants more than anything is to solve the mystery of his mothers disappearance.  She was supposed to arrive at the Menagerie with a Chinese dragons months ago, but both Abigail and the dragon are nowhere to be found.  With danger and mystery around every turn it is the worst time to discover that someone in the family has been keeping secrets - but that is exactly what Zoe and her family are about to find out.  It is also an interesting time to rediscover an old friendship and blow the lid off the biggest secret her family has ever had to keep!  With secrets and conspiracies around every turn, Logan and Zoe are going to have to uncover the truth, the whole truth, and all the truths if they are ever going to solve the mysteries surrounding the Menagerie.

This has been a really fun and challenging series to read - fun because the characters and the action comes off the page and drags you into the story, and challenging because the action picks up right where it left off in the previous book and it tests your memory about what has happened before!  This series would make a great movie, or the basis for a television series - not based on the books exactly, but more about taking the world they live in and creating a series based on that.  The Sutherland sisters have created a world that is logical, has engaging and endearing creatures, and brings aspects of mythology into the modern world in a fun and entertaining way.  They have also balanced the magic and fantasy with some truly touching personal relationships, and an underlying mystery that keeps you hooked from story to story.  It is in this final book that we also discover that there is not one but two mysteries to solve before the end of the book!

Writing a well rounded and engaging fantasy read for children and 'tweens is more challenging than people think, and the Sutherland sisters have done it very very well with the Menagerie series.  All of the characters have a unique voice and stories/lives that make sense, the characters that live around them are varied and complicated - just like real people.  The magical and mythical creatures all have their own back stories and their origin stories, but they are also clearly defined individuals with their own strengths, weaknesses, and flaws (especially the unicorns, did not see that coming).  If you have a young person in your life who likes well written stories where the children are the heroes and not everything is as it seems - then you have to encourage them to try this series!  (And while you're at it, you should read it too!  Just saying).

If you like this book then try:
  • The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland
  • Dragon on trial by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland
  • The world around the corner by Maurice Gee
  • Into the land of the unicorns by Bruce Coville
  • Pangur ban the white cat by Fay Sampson
  • Stone heart by Charlie Fletcher
  • Red rocks by Rachael King
  • The mysterious howling by Maryrose Wood
  • Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
  • Northwood by Brian Falkner
  • Finding the fox by Ali Sparkes
  • Hollow Earth by John Barrownman and Carole Barrowman

Reviewed by Brilla

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