By Derek Benz & J.S. Lewis
Published by Little Brown Kids
Released on June 7th, 2010
Source- J.S. Lewis & Little Brown
5 Stars- Highly Recommend
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 (quoted from the book's over).
The Brimstone Key is a fabulous book where mythological creatures meet the modern day world. This awesome "steampunk for kids" is set in Avalon, MN, but also in area that exists between the human world and in a world where changelings, fairies, werwolves (just to name a few) and a whole lot more live. Let me just say, I would go visit Iron Bridge Academy in a heart beat.
This elite academy is now the school where the legendary Grey Griffins will be attending. Max, Natalia, Harley and Ernie are normal kids growing up in a normal world, but have extraordinary abilities. I really enjoyed reading about this close knit group's adventures and I really liked how easy they were to read about, and how well they got along. It would have been a blast to grow up with friends like this. They are characters with whom both guys and girls will relate to. They're intelligent and all work together to solve mysterious. Max is the leader and while you wouldn't know from meeting him, he comes from money. Then there is Harley, the inventor. He's never had the type of money Max has, but that doesn't stop him. Natalia is the sleuth and a very intelligent, fearless female heroine. Ernie is a changeling, and he becomes more faerie each time he uses his new found abilities, which I have to say are pretty cool.
My favorite female character was Natalia. She's one feisty ( I mean that in a very respectful way), fearless girl who doesn't care what others think of her, nor does ever lose site on who she really is. I think that sends a powerful message to young girls to be stand firm in who they are and be proud of that, no matter what anyone says. I really liked Max, as the leader of the group he has little fear and a lot of compassion when it comes to his friends. Harley is just hard not to love, muscle and all. Being a Changeling, Ernie has some amazing abilities/powers. If I could pick a character to be from this series, I'd pick a Changeling. Who wouldn't want to have the power to teleport, run super fast, have enhanced eye site and heal quickly!?! Being a changeling is also a danger.
When you're dealing with danger, you definitely need these powers, as danger is through out this book. The Grey Griffins are on a quest to stop an evil scientist and his minions of Clockwork creations and find out what's happening to the changelings who keep disappearing. With out giving away any spoilers, let's just say this is a great tween read, with a lot of adventure, magic and action. I know this series is being compared to Harry Potter, and I can sorta of see that, but there's too many difference to compare the two in my book. I've not read the original Grey Griffins series, but I never once felt lost as to what was going on. I felt this story stands well on it's own, but I am planning on reading the original series now.
I recommend The Brimstone Key to tween, teen and adult readers. I think there's a little bit of everything in this book that will hook readers of all ages, as they enjoy getting to know the Grey Griffins and following them on their adventures. It's a fun read that grabbed my attention from the first page and I quickly found myself devouring it's story. I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series.
Don't forget- you can enter to win your own copy of The Brimstone Key
You can find out more about the series here http://www.greygriffins.com/
Follow them on Twitter here http://twitter.com/jonslewis
Read an excerpt from Little Brown's site here http://tinyurl.com/257wbrh