Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Operation Storm City - Joshua Mowll

Operation Storm City by Joshua Mowll
Series: Guild of Specialists #3
Genre: Middle Grade, adventure, steampunk
Published on May 12, 2009
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 288

Sinkiang Desert, China 
Deep in the Desert of Death, forces converge in the race to find Ur-Can - the fabled Storm City. Becca and Doug, brother and sister, are desperate to reach the lost city and discover their parents' fate, but enemies, old and
new, threaten to arrive first and take control of the ancient machine located there. Can Doug and Becca solve the final mystery and stop the power-hungry General Pugachev from endangering the planet - or will they find their parents only to lose them forever?


With each installment, this trilogy just gets better and better, and Operation Storm City is no exception. Exciting, mysterious, funny, and even a little unpredictable (it's a rare thing to find an adventure story that isn't). And of course, the illustrations and fold-out diagrams add to its awesomeness. For those Readers who enjoy stories like Indiana Jones and The Adventures of Tintin, this is an ideal trilogy. The only thing that is lacking is some Germans. Sorry, but Russains just aren't as good of villains. Too bad the Author didn't set it a little further in history, so we could have the Nazis be the central villains. Then it would have been a 100% ideal adventure story.

But that's my only complaint. The characters are all good; Doug and Becca are siblings who banter with each other, but aren't always constantly fighting. They turn their attention to the immediate problem and put aside any differences they might have until a more appropriate moment. And it makes me unbelievably happy that the Author successfully wrote in a tomboy character who wasn't annoying. While Liberty's Texan accent did get old, that is the only thing about her that grows taxing, and the rest of her is good. I am glad, also, that the Author made her a pilot. Let's face it: in every single adventure story, our protagonist(s) will have to fly a plane at some point - it is a "must have" in an adventure story. And so few writers give their protagonist(s) an understanding of flying. So it was nice that Liberty knew how to fly planes.

Operation Storm City, while certainly the most exciting volume, is also the weirdest. Think along of lines of Tintin meets Stargate: SG-1At some point in our history, a very ancient civilization invented a gravity machine. And the whole plot of Operation Storm City focuses on the villains trying to power up this gravity machine in order to cause havoc across the globe. It's a little strange and more than a little science-fiction-ish. But it still makes for a good adventure story, and the ending will not disappoint.

Others in the Guild of Specialists Trilogy:
1)Operation Red Jericho
2)Operation Typhoon Shore
3)Operation Storm City

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