Deadweather and Sunrise (Chronicles of Egg, book 1)
By Geoff Rodkey
Expected publication May 29, 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
Egbert's life hasn't exactly been a bowl full of cherries - he is the youngest child, constantly abused by his siblings, Adonis and Venus, and ignored by his father. Not to mention the vile pirates that share his island home. But things are about to get even worse for young Egg (as he is soon to be called) - his family disappears in a mysterious ballooning accident and it becomes quite clear that the gentleman who's taken him in, the rich and powerful Mr. Pembroke, is trying to kill him.
This book has one of the most eye-catching covers of all the ones I brought home from Midwinter - I mean, that image of the house on the cliff and the big pirate ship and the hot air balloon just screams that this is going to be a rollicking adventure story. And it certainly is. I was hooked from the very first page on this delightful story, filled with intrigue, high-seas adventure, pirates, betrayal, overcoming the odds, and just a little romance. Egg is such a delightful narrator - his background is not that different from typical fantasy heroes (a young boy, beaten down by his family, who seeks solace in books and knowledge), but there is just something so appealing about him. He really struggles with his feelings about his family and has his own share of self-doubt about his worthiness and abilities. This makes him much more than just another poor, saddled young boy who turns out to be extraordinary. Egg never really quite becomes extraordinary, but he uses the skills he has at his disposal to make things work in his favor. Egg is not the only wonderful character here. Girls will admire Millicent and boys will be attracted to her, too - her spunk and self-confidence are a nice contrast to Egg's mild-mannered nature. And the pirates! Love them! They are exciting and interesting and, well, let's be honest, they're pirates! But I think my favorite character is Guts. What an absolutely perfect companion for Egg! Guts is daring and hostile, guarded and violent, but there are hints that there is a much deeper story behind his attitude, a story probably filled with pain. I love the twists and turns of this story - can Egg really survive? Or would it be best to just run away and hope he's never found? Millicent's struggle with the truth of her father is very realistic. I think the world Rodkey has created is fascinating and I can't wait to learn more about it. I am absolutely thrilled with this book and can't wait to see what's in store for Egg, Millicent, Guts, and the pirates!
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.