Review: Risked - Margaret Peterson Haddix
Risked by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Series: The Missing #6
Genre: Middle Grade, time travel
Published on September 3, 2013
Published by Simon & Schuster
Read From: 10.26.13 - 10.26.13
Jonah and Katherine find out that Daniella, one of the missing children from history, is actually Anastasia Romanov. They need to return her to early twentieth-century Russia - during the Russian Revolution - and save
her and her brother Alexei from those who plan to execute the tsar and his family. But Jonah and Katherine know that in their own time, history has proven that Anastasia an Alexei were killed in the revolution. How can their mission to save the Romanovs have any hope of succeeding?
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? The time machine thingy is kind of awesome, but I don't particular care for the new cover art. It's a little dull, and doesn't give a big indication of where the story is going to take place; what era or location.
Characters: Jonah, Katherine, and Chip are all still very fine characters; I have no issue with them (except Chip's name). Katherine is one of the few chipper adventurers I like, and Jonah is quick and intelligent. Chip isn't so useful, but he doesn't irritate me. Danielle, quite honestly, didn't make much of an impression on me - the missing child in history that is the main focus never really does. However, the villains . . . . The villains of the piece the Reader has met before. And they are no more terrifying in Risked than they were in the previous novels. Maybe it's their names, or just that they never do anything particularly evil. They just bumble through time messing it up more and more. Their worst crime is incompetence, really, and incompetence, while alarming in reality, is only frustrating in fiction.
The Romance: There isn't any!
Plot: Jonah and Katherine are tired of not knowing anything whenever they have to go back in time, to restore a missing child in history to their rightful place, so time can be fixed. But the day Jonah decides to do research on the Romanovs, Anastasia shows up on his doorstep. Only in the 21st century, she's known as Danielle - and she doesn't know that she's Anastasia Romanov, the youngest Russian duchess who was killed by the Bolsheviks. Or so history says. And before Jonah or Katherine can tell Danielle anything, they're thrust back in time to Russia, during the Bolshevik revolution. Now it's up to Jonah and Katherine to save Danielle/Anastasia and her brother Alexei before history happens the way it says it does. So Risked is essentially just a rehash of the same old worn-out plot of the last few books. Jonah and Katherine are stranded in another time period, their Elucidator can't help them, JB can't help them, and they are woefully unprepared for being in the time period that they're in. And of course, they are handily invisible. The only real "twist" in this one was that Jonah and Katherine don't just try and save Danielle; they also try and save all of the Romanovs. Sadly, though, Risked made the same mistake that the others have been making: it's the same plotline, with hardly any variance. And the series as a whole just isn't moving.
Believability: Nothing to complain about.
Writing Style: Third person, past tense. It's fitting for the time intended age range, but the dialogue is too moment-by-moment for my liking. A character will ask a question that the Reader is conveniently thinking, and another character will likewise conveniently have the answer, and they will explain in full.
Conclusion: The climax actually was a little tense, and it almost saved the book. For a moment, I wasn't entirely certain that everyone was going to make it out alive. I honestly don't know how the rest of this series will go. The Author can't drag out Jonah's hidden identity much longer without it becoming downright irritating, and she really can't keep using the same plotline over and over again without running it through. I can hope the series improves, as the last book seemed to promise it would, but I'm not betting on it.
Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, ten-to-thirteen, great for fans of time travel.
Others in The Missing Series: