Children of Jubilee by Margaret Peterson Haddix

children of jubileeSimon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018.

Refuge City is supposed to be just that—a refuge. But suddenly, the safe haven where Kiandra and Enu have lived since they were tiny has been taken over by Enforcers, and Rosa, Edwy, Zeba, Bobo, Cana, Enu, and Kiandra find themselves running for their lives. Not only that, but everyone expects twelve-year-old Kiandra to know what to do. Kiandra’s a tech genius and great at finding answers, but she’s definitely not used to having anyone depending on her. To Kiandra’s dismay, the others expect her to lead them even when the tech is taken out of the equation, and the stakes could not be higher.

Children of Jubilee is a cracking ending to the Children of Exile series which started with Children of Exile and moved on to Children of Refuge. Click the links to read my reviews of the previous books. Every book builds on the story through the eyes of a different main character, and yet the impeccable tension, pacing, and consideration of the human condition make a strong thread through all of the books.

I enjoyed—as will most middle grade readers, I think—the opportunity to learn about the worlds and cultures within the books and ponder the ethical questions that arose. Each main character, first Rosi, then Edwy, and finally Kiandra, is a hero to be revered who also gained my sympathy. The action kept me reading and the ethics kept me pondering. The questions of ethics are universal ones, and ones particularly suited to this series’ audience, I think. Each book could stand alone, but I think they’re especially satisfying read as a series.

I recommend this series as an addition to libraries, classrooms, and as gifts for middle grade readers who like a gripping, high-stakes, sci-fi tale.

I received a copy of Children of Jubilee in exchange for an honest review.

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Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

SeekerDelacorte Press, February 10, 2015.

Quin, Shinobu, and John are training for a future of hard fighting, quick decision making, and the honor of pursuing evil in order to uphold the righteous. Quin can’t wait to take her oath and begin her work as a seeker with John and Shinobu at her sides. But what these teens are training for is not at all what they get. What happens that first night will cause Quin, Shinobu, and John to question everything they thought they knew, including the loyalty of everyone they thought they loved.

This is a fantasy/sci-fi adventure that takes place in the future in Scotland, London, and Hong Kong. The weapons are cool: swords that can morph into the size and shape you need them to be, thrown knives, bows and arrows. The teenaged characters are fit and fast and impressive. They’ve already been training for years to be fighters, and their reaction time and muscle memory show it. They’re good kids caught in a bad and very complex situation. How they deal with that situation and each other is the subject of the story.

Though the idea of this story is engaging, I wasn’t really drawn in to until about halfway through the book. I understood the myriad emotional trials the characters faced, but I didn’t find an emotional connection. The premise, however, left me curious enough about what would happen that I kept reading. I found myself more engaged–though never emotionally engaged–during the second half of the book.

This book may appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and hand-to-hand combat. Stronger readers may be more likely to stick with the story. This is a first in a new series. I’d be inclined to try the next to see where the story goes.

I read an advance reader copy of Seeker courtesy of Delacorte Press and NetGalley.