The Game of Sunken Places

The Game of Sunken Places

4.1 35
by M. T. Anderson, Marc Cashman
     
 

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From the best-selling, award-winning author of FEED comes a fantastic, fun, and funny middle-grade adventure starring two of the most disarmingly deadpan boys you'll ever meet

When Brian and Gregory receive an invitation to stay at a distant relative's strange manse . . . well, they should know better than to go, since this is a middle-grade adventure novel. But

Overview

From the best-selling, award-winning author of FEED comes a fantastic, fun, and funny middle-grade adventure starring two of the most disarmingly deadpan boys you'll ever meet

When Brian and Gregory receive an invitation to stay at a distant relative's strange manse . . . well, they should know better than to go, since this is a middle-grade adventure novel. But they go anyway. Why not? Once there, they stumble upon The Game of Sunken Places, a board game that mirrors a greater game for which they have suddenly became players. Soon the boys are dealing with attitudinal trolls, warring kingdoms, and some very starchy britches. Luckily, they have wit, deadpan observation, and a keen sense of adventure on their side.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW wrote, "Dexterously juggling a seemingly impossible profusion of elements, the author builds to a climactic series of surprises that, exploding like fireworks, will almost certainly dazzle readers." Ages 9-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Joan Aiken meets Douglas Adams in this well-done, humorous fantasy from the talented author of Burger Wuss (Candlewick, 1999/VOYA December 1999) and Feed (2002/VOYA December 2002). Gregory Buchanan, a headlong sort of boy much given to spouting nonsense, gets an invitation to spend some time in Vermont with his eccentric uncle, Max, and his cousin, Prudence. He asks his decidedly more cautious friend, Brian, to come with him. Uncle Max lives in a Victorian mansion that readers soon discover is shunned by the locals, and he both dresses and requires the boys to dress in Victorian-era costume. Soon Gregory and Brian find themselves hip deep in a mysterious, scary, and ancient game played by supernatural opponents. They spend several days tramping through the wilds of rural Vermont, vanquishing—and sometimes befriending—monsters, discovering secret underground cities, and generally fleeing for their lives. What makes this novel special is Anderson's skill at wordplay. Gregory is given to all sorts of bizarre and off-kilter statements, for example, as when he claims that his uncle "lives in kind of a different world from the rest of us. You know? The kind of world where electricity is a lot of invisible spiders. The kind of world where there's organ music that gets louder when he eats refined sugar." Although somewhat arbitrary and picaresque in its structure, the novel never ceases to entertain, and the ending is genuinely unexpected. The book should strongly appeal to any teen interested in an original fantasy adventure. VOYA Codes 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, definedas grades 7 to 9). 2004, Scholastic, 272p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Michael Levy
Children's Literature
Thirteen-year-old Gregory Buchanan receives a letter from his Uncle Max and tells his friend Brian, Uncle Max "lives in kind of a different world from the rest of us." Gregory and Brian discover just how different that world is when they accept Maximiliam Grendle's invitation to visit. The two boys discover a game board in the nursery and are swept into competition. But who is their competitor? There are no apparent rules to this Game, either. The mysterious and frightening Jack Stimple gives pointers, but refuses to reveal the rules. The Game takes the boys to fantastic places in the woods around Grendle Manor: Clock Corner, the Petroglyph Wall, Fundridge's Folly. They encounter an axe-wielding troll named Kalgrash, an ogre called Snarth, and a tiny man, Wee Sniggleping. As the boys advance in the Game, additional locations on the game board appear and they discover the mythical people for whom they compete. Loaded with suspense and adventure, this fantasy will appeal to both boys and girls. 2004, Scholastic Press, Ages 9 to 13.
—Mary Loftus
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Thirteen-year-olds Brian Thatz and Gregory Buchanan accept a cryptic invitation to visit Gregory's weird Uncle Max and cousin Prudence in Vermont. Uncle Max, a Victorian-era throwback, greets them in a horse-drawn carriage and dispatches them to his creepy old manor house. Once there, he burns the boys' luggage and everything in it, forcing them into the heavy tweed knickerbockers and starched shirt collars he prefers. Then an all-consuming game begins, though the hapless boys are not informed of it. It subjects them to every fiend Anderson can imagine, from bridge trolls and ogres to nefarious man-monsters in billowing cloaks. The boys are confused, and readers are likely to be as well. Anderson's prose is deliberately disorienting and chaotic, and his characters are quick-witted and engaging. This is an action-packed adventure, but the convoluted story line, abrupt scene changes, and unstable landscape will not be everyone's cup of tea.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When wise-cracking Gregory and brainy Brian go to Vermont to visit Gregory's "strange . . . [p]robably insane" Uncle Max, they "couldn't know what an adventure it would be." Once at Grendle Manor and properly clad in knickerbockers, the two boys find a mildewed game board-the eponymous Game of Sunken Places-that mirrors the local landscape and takes on a real and potentially lethal life of its own. A sinister stranger, a genial troll, a fussy, very non-human game coordinator, and numerous monsters variously aid and block their progress through the game, which, it seems, is central to a cosmic contest between two spirit races. Sound confusing? It is, and purposely so. Gregory and Brian bumble and puzzle their way along with the reader, gradually discovering the many overlaid constructs and realities that make up the game. As with so many games, the fun of the novel is not in the ending but in the getting there, and readers willing to suspend every ounce of disbelief will be rewarded by this smart, consciously complex offering that never panders to its middle-grade audience. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307282217
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/01/2005
Edition description:
Unabridged
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

M. T. Anderson is the author of several distinguished picture books, including Handel, Who Knew What He Liked, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, named an American Library Association Notable Children's Book and a Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book, and The Serpent Came to Gloucester, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, a Junior Library Guild Selection. He is also the author of several young adult novels, including FEED, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

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The Game of Sunken Places 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*rolls eyes*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He laid down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She looks at the sky quietly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Aaahh!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WE ARE MOVING TO PIPLUP ALL RESULTS!!! JT AND ARKIM ARE LOCKED OUT!! SEE YOU THERE!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thats ok Jt. Theres google and you could just ask us to help you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well,im not just sayin thaatt..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of course, We know much of the plot was borrowed from all those authors of legend! So how can you call this work unoriginal? In truth, the same could be said of any renowned author- it's what makes it stand out. The only author that deserves the pimp slapping you robots are spanking this great work with is Lewis Carrol, because he really was on crack. IF ANY AUTHOR WAS'NT INSPIRED BY OTHERS, HIS TURDS DON'T EVEN DESERVE WORTH?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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hannah44 More than 1 year ago
The Game of Sunken Places was an excellent book! It's very very easy to read and understand, and it's not one of those boring books you just want to get rid of. It's the kind of book you get into and think "wtf? This is so mythical yet sooo delightful!"
well.
that's just me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was exceptional. It ties in a lot of other books' ideas as well. I would definitely recomend it to a friend. Yes, there were ups and downs, but all books are like that! They aren't supposed to go the way the reader wants it to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was awsome i loved it. even though it had its ups and downs i will still give it 5stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not quite sure that I read the same book some of you people read. I, for one, thought that this book was very well-done. It interested me with its humor (sometiems witty, sometimes dark, always funny) and intriguing plotline. i honestly found myself to be laughing so hard that I teared. It may be a little off-beat and random, this is true, but so many of today's funniest things ARE like this. Oh, and one more thing: Who HASN'T borrowed something from another of the same field? You can see the influence of so many great authors in the works of Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, Adams, and Colfer, to name a few. Get a clue and wise up...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this up because it looked interesting, and it kind of was. Its a pretty cool plot, but it wasn't written very well. It tries to pull off some dry humor, like Lemony Snickets books (which are much funnier, by the way), but it fails miserably. Probably not worth your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
jeez. the book went along joltingly, and the author didnt lead people into the plot. he just either said 'the rules of the game r forbidden 2 b revealed' or explained everything, leaving nothing 2 the imagination. it was a struggle 2 get through it. and the boys r 2 smart, 2. there rnt many clues, yet the boys somehow mannage 2 solve every puzzle w/ plenty of time 2 spare.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it is a very tantalizing and very interesting book. what it lacks is sense. lot of this book dosn't make much sence, but all in all it is a great book
Guest More than 1 year ago
What was this author thinking!! This tale was a cross between Shrek, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, A Series of Unfotunate Events, and the 'His Dark Materials' series all jumbled toghter. Seemingly a good combination, but not in this sense. Everything came out stupidly and just....wrong. The story was boring, confusing, and terribly unsurprising. I, a lover of fantasy, thought I would enjoy this book, but I positivley hated it. There was only one surprise at the end, which was cool, but that was about it. This author tried to make this story too much like books already out on the shelves. I am advising you to really, skip this horrid book and read something else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Springs for the berries