It's Middle Grade Monday! And to everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day too :) Today I am reviewing the MG adventure, Smasher, by Scott Bly.
Charlie is a young boy living in 1542. He has a very specific ability. The ability to work what some would call magic. He thinks of it as manipulating the "hum". He lives alone with his grandfather, who is teaching him to control his powers. Enter Geneva, a young robotic girl who has traveled back in time to find Charlie and bring him into the present. She tells Charlie that his skills are needed in the future and that an evil man is prime to take over the world.
Together they travel into the future and Charlie is frightened to find that the hum doesn't exist then, except within the evil Gramercy Foxx. Charlie and Geneva learn they have only 20 days to stop Foxx from controlling the minds of every being in the world. In their first attempt to stop him, Charlie rescues a puppy from Foxx's lab, a puppy that allows Charlie to again connect with the hum. Charlie and Geneva need to figure out what Foxx is up to and stop him, before he kills them.
This is an exciting adventure for upper middle grade readers. I felt that the story was well put together and the author's knowledge of technology came through in his writing. That being said, I was a little fuzzy about the hum, and finally decided to think of it like "the force" from Star Wars. That helped me through the first half of the book, but then the author brings in DNA code, computer code and the hum code, and I didn't grasp the idea he was trying to put forth. I decided to just go with the flow and accept that I didn't fully understand it because the story itself is so interesting.
Another fun aspect of the book is that both main characters, Charlie and Geneva, have secrets. In this book the author sends the reader through time to discovers Charlie's family history. Bly nicely ties the story together through blood lines. Then we have Geneva, and she is my favorite character. We don't fully find out all the things about her, but what we do learn is fascinating. SPOILER- The fact that she is one of Foxx's experiments leads you to wonder who she was to begin with. Plus, who is talking to her in her dreams/downtime? Foxx didn't know about Charlie, so it couldn't have been his memories leaking into hers. And then we have the ending, where will Geneva end up? There definitely could be a sequel that explores her story.
I also have to give a shout-out to the title. Smasher is a great one word attention grabber, and it works well with the story. In order to travel through time, Charlie and Geneva have to smash atoms together to create a rip in the universe. Sweet. Older children will enjoy this story. 4 stars!
It goes on sale March 25, but you can pre-order today-