The Brimstone Key (Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles Series #1)
  • The Brimstone Key (Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles Series #1)
  • The Brimstone Key (Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles Series #1)

The Brimstone Key (Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles Series #1)

4.5 60
by Derek Benz, J. S. Lewis
     
 

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A brand new adventure starring The Grey Griffins!
Max—-the leader
Natalia—-the brains
Ernie—-the changeling
Harley—-the muscle

A year ago, the Grey Griffins were just regular kids from Avalon, Minnesota. That was before they learned about the existence of evil fairies, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night.

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Overview

A brand new adventure starring The Grey Griffins!
Max—-the leader
Natalia—-the brains
Ernie—-the changeling
Harley—-the muscle

A year ago, the Grey Griffins were just regular kids from Avalon, Minnesota. That was before they learned about the existence of evil fairies, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night. Now they are monster-hunters, celebrated heroes, and allies to the legendary Templar knights—-but even heroes have to go to school.

When the Griffins enroll at Iron Bridge Academy, a school to train young recruits in the fight against the forces of evil, they find themselves at the center of a whole new adventure. The Clockwork King, a Templar foe from days past, has returned to finish the plan he set in motion decades ago. A plot to steal the souls of changelings—-humans infused with fairy blood and supernatural abilities—-in order to power his army of clockwork war machines.

In The Brimstone Key, authors Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis deftly blend the mystical wonder of steampunk with magic and adventure to create an action-packed thrill ride.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lisa Martincik
Max and his three best friends, the Grey Griffins, have already helped save the world from threats including sorcery, fairies, and Max's own father, Lord Sumner. Their next challenge is adjusting to a new school, run by the Knights Templar, to educate and train them, and talented kids like them, into better monster hunters. Making new friends and rivals soon takes a backseat to the mystery of who is kidnapping faerie-blooded Changelings like Ernie. The long-absent Clockwork King is raising a malevolent robot army that threatens, not just the Iron Bridge Academy, but all the Templar and Griffins have sought to protect. Beginning the second Grey Griffins trilogy by Benz and Lewis, The Brimstone Key contains callbacks to, but requires no familiarity with, previous volumes. Each Griffin plays a role, but through writerly craft or accident they manage to exceed these roles. So Harley's brawn is overshadowed by his love of machines, Ernie's new Changeling nature allows him to geekily adopt a superhero moniker, Natalia demonstrates guts as well as brains (though, stereotypically, she is the only screamer in the group), and Max supports as much as he leads. They also take the occasional backseat to adults when danger rears its head, lending an air of plausibility to balance out some uneven lurches in storytelling. Characters are relatable and fun if not deep, and the plot moves well to an inevitable cliff-hanger. The setting will raise comparisons to a steampunk Harry Potter, but this is a brisker book, and the protagonists already have a past with actions that can and do come back to haunt them. Reviewer: Lisa Martincik
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
In book one of the "The Clockwork Chronicles" the Grey Griffins embark on exciting, dangerous, and magical adventure. On the last day of summer vacation, Max, Natalie, Ernie, and Harley are led to an underground room by a clockwork beetle where they find a mysterious control room, blueprints, and automaton parts, as well as a special deck of Round Table cards featuring a card for the Clockwork King. However, they have no time for research because the next day they are scheduled to begin middle school at the newly opened Iron Bridge Academy. While the Templar school appears as a boring edifice in their hometown of Avalon, Minnesota, once they pass through the doors, a new world opens for them. They find themselves in a train station filled with other students dressed in Victorian garb waiting for the Zephyr, a steam train that is actually a very fast train with a mind of its own. Once they arrive at Iron Bridge, located between worlds, new classes, new teachers, and class bullies make researching in the Templar library difficult. When changelings start disappearing, the Grey Griffins find themselves in a battle against the Clockwork King for control of the world. This plot driven adventure will appeal to young fans of Steampunk. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The Grey Griffins are back in a new series, and they're off to Iron Bridge Academy, a Hogwarts-type school that prepares promising young students for the fight against the forces of evil. Once Max, Harley, Natalia, and Ernie arrive at the school (which has long been closed due to mysterious circumstances), the changelings there begin to vanish, and it becomes apparent that The Clockwork King is behind the disappearances. Max has been having realistic nightmares that lead him to believe that the mad scientist is horrifyingly merging students with clockwork creations. The authors have jumped on the steampunk bandwagon without really embracing the steampunk aesthetic. Yes, there are clockwork automatons, an airship, and a place called New Victoria where humans, pixies, and hobgoblins linger on the streets together, but the main characters are skeptical of those who embrace Victorian fashion. Despite some awkwardly inserted background information from the previous books, it is still difficult for someone unfamiliar with them to keep track of the various characters, their histories, and their roles. Fans of the "Grey Griffins" series will be thrilled to revisit their old friends in this action-packed adventure, but newcomers would benefit from starting with The Revenge of the Shadow King (Scholastic/Orchard, 2005).—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Aiming to be a steampunk action/adventure with a faerie element and a side of gaming, this opener of the second Grey Griffins series is a congested mess of overwritten prose, weak descriptions and inflated dangers. The four Griffins (three boys, plus one girl to ask questions, be prissy and get taken down a peg) are a monster-fighting team aided by magical and military adults. Technology and magic overflow, from Max's transformable codex/ring/gauntlet-weapon to wireless cameras and long-distance imaging, laptops, clockworks, cogs, robotics and soul-stealing. A clockwork king from the past is kidnapping faerie changelings, potentially including one Griffin and one close friend, but weapons are too easily deployed and too quickly successful for battles and victories to resonate. Gadget and scene descriptions are slapdash, Arthurian references inexplicable. Perspective shifts lazily, and ornate substitutions for "said" are distracting and often inaccurate (" ?Cheer up,' Todd noted"). Prose is purple ("She was thin, fitting into her clothes like a blade into a starched scabbard") and redundant ("a round globe"). Sloppy all around. (Fantasy. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316045223
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
06/07/2010
Series:
Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles Series, #1
Pages:
369
Sales rank:
267,373
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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