Gods of Manhattan [NOOK Book]

Overview

Thirteen-year-old New Yorker Rory Hennessy can see things no one else can. When a magician's trick opens his eyes to Mannahatta, Rory finds an amazing spirit city coexisting alongside modern-day Manhattan. A place where Indian sachems, warrior cockroaches, and papier-mƒch‚ children live, ruled by the immortal Gods of Manhattan - including Babe Ruth, Alexander Hamilton, and Peter Stuyvesant. But Rory's power to see Mannahatta brings danger, and he is pursued by enemies, chasing history and trying to free those who...
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Gods of Manhattan

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Overview

Thirteen-year-old New Yorker Rory Hennessy can see things no one else can. When a magician's trick opens his eyes to Mannahatta, Rory finds an amazing spirit city coexisting alongside modern-day Manhattan. A place where Indian sachems, warrior cockroaches, and papier-mƒch‚ children live, ruled by the immortal Gods of Manhattan - including Babe Ruth, Alexander Hamilton, and Peter Stuyvesant. But Rory's power to see Mannahatta brings danger, and he is pursued by enemies, chasing history and trying to free those who have been enslaved. And when he is given the chance to right Mannahatta's greatest wrong, seeing Mannahatta may not be a gift after all. . . .
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
It started out as a simple child's birthday party with cake and a magic show and then it awakened a secret world for Rory. In this book, Gods of Manhattan, Rory can see beyond the present into the past. He has to figure out how this is happening and who to trust. Another conflict arises when Rory realizes that he might be able to find his missing father. Was he really dead or stuck in a past life? Rory also learns how dead heroes like Alexander Hamilton and even Babe Ruth become gods that rule this world, hidden within the boundary of New York City called Mannahatta. The final showdown between good and evil happens in one of the most famous landmarks in Manhattan—Central Park. Rory has it on good authority that an Indian tribe has been held hostage there forever, and only he can save them. Will helping them put his mother and sister at risk? Has Rory been cursed or given a gift? This action-packed book will take the reader not only through Manhattan but through an interesting and fun history lesson as well. Author, Scott Mebus, combines fact and fiction to write this riveting book packed with suspense at every corner. He creates a world so authentic that you may question whether it really exists. The main character, Rory, reacts so much like a typical teenager by plunging both feet into trouble until it affects more than him. What a fantastic find on any shelf! Reviewer: Julia Beiker
VOYA
Rory Hennessy has held his family together amid the activity of his native New York for his thirteen years, when he suddenly begins to see another equally hectic spirit city co-existing alongside everyday Manhattan. This alternative metropolis is Mannahatta, home to Munsee Native Americans, warrior cockroaches riding rat steeds, a papier-mGchT child, and an eclectic set of New York notables, including Babe Ruth, Horace Greeley, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Alexander Hamilton, all of whom have been reborn as dieties. These gods amuse themselves by playing dangerous power games, including wrongfully imprisoning the Munsees's spirits in Central Park. Because Rory is the Light, able to see past reality into the spirit world, only he can free the captives. His quest will be both arduous and perilous. Mannahatta, as created by first-time author Mebus, is an intriguing but flawed alternative reality. His deities, who bear such charming titles as Goddess of Wit (Dorothy Parker) and God of Things Were Better in the Old Days (Peter Stuyvesant), are sadly not well drawn; their speeches are often protracted and clichT-ridden explanations that enumerate rather than reveal plot details. The explanation of the Munsees's entrapment and its injurious effects on the modern city is also never quite clear. Mebus's style is far from polished; the reader is often distracted by careless errors and choppy sentences that should be corrected by the final version. Perhaps the anticipated sequel will be the proper vehicle for the novel's admittedly appealing conceit. Reviewer: Jamie S. Hansen
Children's Literature - Sara Marcus
A boy with hidden powers, reminiscent of Harry Potter; a hidden city beneath, above, or concurrent with present-day Manhattan; hidden chambers of danger and adventure; friends only Rory and his sister can see, reminiscent of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; animals fighting alongside humans; and more are found in this novel. After reading this first children's book by producer and director Scott Mebus, one is led to impatiently await the second in what appears to be a series. With accurate portrayals of character of some of the most influential people in the history of New York City, such as Alexander Hamilton, Dorothy Parker, and Peter Stuyvesant, the work takes off into a fantasy world of gods, ghosts, spirits, spells, and more. By coming to care for others, Rory learns valuable lessons about compassion, honesty, faith, friendship, betrayal, and love. A group of children of the gods, who become honorary members of the Rattle Watchers, fight against evil done by the mayor of Mahatta and his henchmen, and Rory and his sister will again come to the aid of their friends in a search for justice. Including a list of characters to assist in the reader in identifying the main characters and names of those in various groups, the work also includes a color map of Manhattan, complete with key landmarks of Manhatta (the isle of the gods). This map is useful to any reader unfamiliar with the geography of Manhattan, to enable visual cues to the text of the narrative. Portraying numerous political and other scandals in the borough of Manhattan, the work does not focus on recent issues such as 9/11. This work would be an excellent tie-in to a history or economics class that isstudying the history of New York or the Robber Barons, for example. Reviewer: Sara Marcus
KLIATT - Cara Chancellor
Rory Hennessy is every magician's worst nightmare: he's able to see through every trick. Every trick, that is, except for the one a mysterious magician named Hex performs at his sister's birthday party. Soon after, Rory starts seeing ghost ships in the Hudson River, pigeon-eating gargoyles on the building next door, and Native Americans in Central Park. Through another not-so-chance encounter with Hex, Rory learns that he is a Light, blessed with the ability to see Mannahatta, a spirit-world version of New York inhabited by memories of its most well-known, loved, or feared inhabitants. Unfortunately for Rory, a Light also is the only one who can defeat the forces of evil at work in Mannahatta, which is why all the others have been killed. Gods of Manhattan has surprising depth and freshness for a book focused solely on New York City, and the historical figures who appear throughout are far more interesting than their dry, textbook counterparts (much the same as 1776 imparted life and personality to the Second Continental Congress). While the historical subject matter may initially give YAs pause, all such reservations should be swept away as Rory begins his exciting, sometimes terrifying journey through this intriguing world. Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- An inventive fantasy-adventure by a first-time author. Rory, 13, and his sister Bridget, 9, live in present-day New York City unaware of the spirits from Manhattan's or "Mannahatta's" past that coexist alongside them. Rory has a gift for seeing this other world but has repressed this ability until the day he notices a cockroach riding a rat, an ancient Indian warrior, a papier-mâché boy, and other oddities. He's able to see such historical figures as Peter Stuyvesant, Walt Whitman, John Jacob Astor, Alexander Hamilton, and Babe Ruth-all immortal gods in this parallel world-and he learns that it's up to him to thwart an evil assassin who has been killing the gods, and free the Munsee Indians who are imprisoned in Central Park. He's joined by other immortal teens, including Nicholas Stuyvesant, Peter's son, and Lincoln Douglass, Frederick's son. The use of real historical figures and events lends authenticity to this compulsively readable and fast-paced fantasy. Rory may be the one destined to save Mannahatta, but Bridget, spunky and determined, also does her part. This book will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series (Hyperion/Miramax).-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

Kirkus Reviews
No sooner does 13-year-old Rory become aware of "Manahatta," the world of ghosts, monsters and spirits that twines through the familiar streets of New York City, than he is swept up in a tide of deadly intrigue in this uncommonly entertaining crossover debut. Though someone has found a way to kill the supposedly immortal gods of the title-all figures from New York's past-that subplot takes a back seat to the machinations of Hex, a magician who enlists Rory in the seemingly worthy effort to break the magical barrier that has imprisoned the spirits of the island's native Munsees in Central Park. Largely clueless but brave and subject to occasional fits of canniness, Rory gets help along the way from a rousing supporting cast led by his kick-ass little sister Bridget, who has an alternate persona she dubs "Malibu Death Barbie," and a diminutive but intrepid Battle Roach named Fritz. Along with plenty of action, Mebus stuffs his pages with references to New York's history, draws most of the threads together in a suspenseful climax and provides a satisfying sense of resolution at the end while leaving plenty of issues for future episodes. (cast list, map) (Fantasy. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101200698
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/17/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 196,608
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 314 KB

Meet the Author

Scott Mebus lives in Manhattan.
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Read an Excerpt

1
THE MAGICIAN

Adriaen van der Donck raced over the Henry Hudson Bridge at the northern tip of Manhattan, urging his steaming horse to go faster as he made a break for the Bronx. Maybe he'd be lucky. Maybe his enemy had neglected to pick an assassin with the right kind of blood. He heard the sound of a horn in the distance. Was that the Trumpeter? He hadn't known the old fool was still haunting the river where he'd met his death centuries before. Oh well, no one had heard the man then and no one hears his ghost now. Just like nobody heard Adriaen. And now it might be too late.

His horse weaved around the cars whizzing across the bridge. None of the drivers even glanced in his direction. Adriaen had known his rival was planning something, but he'd never imagined anything like this. He needed to reach his farm, where he could get some sort of message to his daughter, warning her and the rest of his allies of their enemy's new, impossible weapon. If only the river would buy him some time-

Glancing over his shoulder, his spirits sank. The assassin smoothly galloped across the bridge without pausing, meaning he must have Bronx blood. Adriaen's enemy had planned for everything. Urging his horse onward, he flew down the side streets, the assassin hot on his trail. Now he could only hope to gain enough time to send a message off. But his horse was tired while the horse behind him was fresh. He'd only just crossed the boundary of his own farm when the assassin reached him.

A hard push knocked Adriaen off his horse. He landed heavily among the rows of towering cornstalks. Pushing himself to his feet, Adriaen turned to face the assassin, who had dismounted and was approaching himwarily, knife in hand. That knife. How had his enemy made that knife? Killing Adriaen, or any god, was supposed to be impossible.

But everything was different now.

No time to warn his compatriots, not anymore. The only message he could send would be back to this killer's master. He gave a silent prayer for his daughter and the rest of the Rattle Watch. Look after my city, he whispered, and keep watch over the hidden Light. All will be for naught if he is taken. The assassin shifted his grip, getting ready to strike. Adriaen braced himself as he readied one last, desperate ploy. Maybe he'd save his city, though he couldn't save himself. The assassin sprang, and Adriaen van der Donck stepped forward to meet him, his fi nal trick ready to be played.

"I think this is yours!" the magician exclaimed as he held up the undamaged dollar bill he had cut into shreds just two minutes before.

The girl sighed in wonder and took the bill back as the small crowd of children sitting in the Hennessy living room clapped loudly. Every eye was on the short magician in the long blue robe as he bowed at the applause and began his next trick. He pulled out a dove and called upon a boy to place the bird in a box. The children held their breath as the magician pulled out a match and waved it through the air.

Rory Hennessy, thirteen years old and never fooled, leaned in closer to watch the magician at work. There had never been a magic trick, or a sleight-of-hand maneuver, or any other so-called illusion, that had not been picked apart, seen through, or laid bare by the eagle eyes of the elder Hennessy. He could always spy the magician slipping the twenty-dollar bill into the volunteer's pocket. He unerringly knew where the five of spades was hidden. He would point to the shell with the marble under it every time. He couldn't really explain how he knew. He just did. Rory would look a magician in the eye and suddenly the performer would no longer be a mystical practitioner of wonder, he'd be a sad little man with a weird hat. He'd start to stammer, his rabbit would fall out of his sleeve, and he'd press the wrong button and pour water all over his pants. Rory didn't do it on purpose. It was just his gift.

Therefore, Rory had long ago decided to give magic shows a miss. He'd only agreed to attend this particular performance because it was his sister Bridget's ninth birthday party. She had begged and begged for a magician, and since Mrs. Hennessy could never resist her daughter's pouting, a magician was hired and a brother was warned to keep his big mouth shut. Rory promised, and so far so good. He should have just hung out in his room, but instead he found himself leaning against the wall and watching intently. He couldn't help himself; he had to see. And up until now, he'd been less than impressed, as usual. Bridget's oohs and ahs got on his nerves, but he said nothing. Sometimes it seemed like she wanted to be fooled. She couldn't wait to be fooled. But not him. He saw the world the way it was. Somebody had to.

Sure enough, he picked out the moment when the magician-Hex was his name-slipped the dove into his sleeve, just before setting the box on fire. Rory shook his head in disgust as Bridget whistled in awe when the bird reappeared, magically unharmed. Bridget's cardboard sword lay in her lap, the word BUTTKICKER written on the side in Magic Marker. She never went anywhere without the stupid thing. She liked to say their father left it behind for her when he disappeared, but Rory knew that wasn't true. She'd only been a baby when their father left, walking out on the three of them and leaving then four-year-old Rory as the man of the family. Bridget loved to make up intricate stories starring their father as the magical knight doomed to wander, or as the wretched prisoner of the evil dragon, always fighting to come home to his beloved children. But Rory didn't buy it. It was just another fantasy, a trick to see through, and he saw through all the tricks.

"I need another volunteer. How about you?"

Hex pointed past the sea of raised hands right at him."Pick my sister," Rory said, nodding at Bridget, whose arm was waving crazily like she'd stuck her tongue in a socket. Hex smiled slyly, winking at Rory as if they were the only two in the room.

"You're the one with the storm-cloud face. I think you need a little magic."

Rory didn't like the way Hex was smiling, as if he knew something Rory didn't. Rory glanced over toward the kitchen, where his mother stood with arms crossed. Her face silently begged him to play along. He sighed.

"Fine."

He stepped forward as Hex held a deck of cards in front of him.

"Pick a card."

Rory grabbed a card, making a face. Hex made a big show of turning his head.

"Show everyone your card. Let them see it!"

Rory turned the card toward the kids and let them see that it was the eight of clubs. Hex pointed to his table.

"If you'll look down at my special table, you'll see a Magic Marker, black in color. This is an ordinary Magic Marker, much like you'd find at any stationery store. Please pick it up, Rory, if you would be so kind."

Rory picked up the Magic Marker. He looked it over closely but could see nothing strange about it. Hex kept his head turned away.

"Now, Rory, I want you to write something on the card with this ordinary Magic Marker. Make it very personal, something only you would think to write. All right? Are you done?"

Rory finished writing on the card and nodded.

"Good," Hex said. "Now place the card back in the deck."

Rory did this, sighing to himself. Hex wasn't even going to stick it in a little envelope and burn it up. This really was amateur hour. At last Hex turned to look at Rory. "Now shuffle the cards. Go on, don't be shy. Shuffle away, young man."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

    Rory Hennessy is firmly rooted in reality. In some ways, far too much so for a thirteen-year-old boy, but that's sometimes what happens when it's just a boy, his mom, and his little sister. Regardless, Rory has always been able to see through and explain magic tricks. So in the interest of not spoiling his sister Bridget's ninth birthday party, Rory is avoiding the magician she insisted on having. The magician, however, is intent on Rory's participation. The result is a trick that Rory can't begin to explain or understand, and a cryptic message about Rory being in danger.<BR/><BR/>Suddenly, everything is different. Rory is seeing things that couldn't possibly be real; gargoyles eating pigeons, a cockroach riding a rat like it was a pony, an Indian warrior that Rory's dreamt about... Maybe there's more to that magician than some silly card tricks. Or else Rory's losing his mind.<BR/><BR/>With Bridget in tow, Rory goes to find the magician. According to the magician there is an entire shadow world that coexists with the Manhattan that Rory and Bridget know and love. It's called Mannahatta, and it's populated by Gods of every kind. Like the God of Justice, or the God of Sample Sales, or the God of Jaywalking. To borrow the magicians words: "When a mortal does something great, he is reborn in Mannahatta as a spirit. If his legend grows enough, he might be fortunate enough to ascend to godhood." <BR/><BR/>But there is struggle in Mannahatta: the spirits of the Munsee Indians are trapped in Central Park. The Munsees are connected to the land, but since they are trapped in a man-made park they can't actually connect to the land anymore, upsetting the balance between the two worlds. As possibly the only true mortal who can see Mannahatta without assistance (Bridget can only see things after Rory points them out), Rory is the key to setting the Munsees free.<BR/><BR/>Rory isn't sure he trusts or believes the magician, but there does seem to be a few creepy things trying to attack him. Whether or not Rory is ready or even interested in the adventure, Bridget is ready to kick some butt, starting yesterday. Now Rory has to worry about navigating a world no one else can see, saving it and the world he knows, and keeping Bridget safe. He's got his work cut out for him.<BR/><BR/>Rory is a strong and interesting main character, and Bridget is the irritating little sister who makes things worse by trying to help. The author has managed to balance serious ideas (like global warming and the Indian/Colonist conflict) with lighthearted moments (like a rat and squirrel kung fu fighting). The story jumps back and forth between Manhattan and Mannahatta, until they merge with Rory's full understanding. Which is a little bit confusing until you figure out who <BR/>everyone is. <BR/><BR/>This is a great adventure story that not only keeps you involved, but doubles nicely as a history and geography of Manhattan. I imagine it's particularly poignant if you're a New Yorker, but never having been there I can tell you it didn't lose anything.<BR/><BR/>I think we may not have seen the end of Rory Hennessy, or Bridget, and I'm looking forward to finding out what else Mannahatta has in store for everyone.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2008

    wicked awsome!!

    to start off, this book is like nothing i've ever read before. though there are some confusing parts, the story moves at an extremely fast pase and is an apsulute page turner. read it and you won't be disapointed.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

    Amazing

    Great book and i luv it when you no stuff the c. Do not

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  • Posted March 27, 2011

    amazing

    u dont ecpect whats coming, its like your blind folded on a roller coaster

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    awesome

    this book is sooooo good it is really adventerous and it is mysterious

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  • Posted November 4, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    ACTION-PACKED from start to finish!

    This is a great book.It keeps a quick pace all the way through. There are historical figures packed into this fictional story which also makes it interesting. The characters are creative, there is plenty of action and it's definetly a must read especially if you are from N.Y.C.. My sons loved it!

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