Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyCharnas's enthralling story is related by Valentine (Tina), a schoolgirl who lives a New York apartment house with her divorced mother. Tina's first intimation of looming dangers is an explosion at a subway stop and inexplicable disappearances of awesome proportions. The enormous statue of the warrior Jagiello astride his steed vanishes from Central Park, for example, along with things from Tina's home. An encounter with an old man, Paavo, reminds the girl of her grandmother's tales of the Norwegian Kraken, the monster that Paavo says is thrusting up from underground to devour the world. Later meetings with the old man involve Tina with Joel, a teenager mesmerized by the music Paavo plays on the violin. It isn't, as he pretends, the fiddling of an amateur for coins, but the performance of a gifted maestro. Its magic conquers, momentarily, the punks who obey the kraken's orders, posing as muggers on the subway and the dark streets. Tina escapes their clutches only to learn that the monster has grabbed Joel. Blind and paralyzed, he's below the tracks where only Tina can find and save him. The tensions and startling switches in developments, as well as the author's realistic evocations of metropolitan life, result in an unforgettable novel. (10up)
School Library JournalGr 6-8 Tina is a plucky young teen who lives in New York City with her divorced mother. Her somewhat humdrum school and home life are disturbed when she unknowingly becomes involved in preventing a potentially deadly attack by the evil, monstrous kraken. The kraken has gained entry into the New York subway system by displacing the bronze statue of King Jagiello in Central Park, and Tina is drawn into the desperate efforts to recover the statue so that the kraken can be subdued. In the course of this adventure, she becomes allied with Paavo, an aging, magical violinist and young Joel, an aspiring musician. Tina and Joel have a stormy relationship, but Tina comes to love Paavo and is devastated when he gives up his life in the fight against the kraken. The cover art is tantalizingly ominous, but unfortunately, the book doesn't quite deliver. While the segments of the encounter with the kraken are indeed suspenseful, the momentum isn't sustained. Further, Tina isn't developed fully as a charactershe never comes alive. This falls short of being a real ``page-turner'' but is adequate as an optional purchase for fantasy lovers. Cynthia Percak Infantino, Ela Area Public Library, Lake Zurich, Ill.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Age Range:
- 10 Years
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Bronze King based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I really loved this book; I liked the way Valentine finds out that she has magical powers like her grandmother's and how she has to work out ways of learning to use them even though her mother is pretending there's no magic at all in the family so Val has to outwit her a lot (it reminds me of Harry and the muggle family he lives with, only Val's mom isn't mean, just really muggly-scared of magic); and I love it the way Val gets help from an old street bum who's secretly a great wizard from the distant past. Growing up in the city myself, I used to wish that the poor street people you saw wandering around every day really did have some secret strength to make their lives less awful than they looked, and this book works out that dream really well. Also, Val gets to know this stuck-up boy from the East side who's probably going to become a great musician, and he gets dragged into the magical fight against the monster that lives in the subways and in Central Park, scheming to take over the city, so he gets pulled out of his self-centered way of looking at things. The statue of Jagiello, the hero from history who fights the dragon to the death, is still there in Central Park -- I went and looked at it -- all polished up and grand-looking now. You could really believe that this guy would take on a monster and win! A fast, great adventure, I really loved it.