Title: The Colossus Rises (Seven Wonders #1)
Author: Peter Lerangis
Pub. Date: February 5, 2013
Source: Publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!)
Summary: One Boy
Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die.
Jack needs to find seven magic loculi that, when combined, have the power to cure him.
The loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and haven’t been seen in thousands of years.
Because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
On the morning I was scheduled to die, a large barefoot man with a bushy red beard waddled past my house.
That, my friends, is how you start a book.
Jack McKinley was just like any other 13-year old boy: always woke up late for school, didn’t want a babysitter while his father worked out of town, dreaded math tests. His world changed one morning when he passed out just before school. The next thing he knew he was in a hospital with the strange red-beared man claiming he was a doctor. Suddenly Jack was whisked away to a totally remote island – radar doesn’t work there, it’s not on any map, even the inhabitants aren’t entirely sure where they are.
Along with Jack, three other 13-year olds are housed at the giant compound: the Karai Institute. There’s Marco, athlete extraordinaire; Aly, a genius hacker; and Cass, able to memorize anything. Jack learns he’s not like other kids. He’s one of the Select, an extremely small group of kids who possess a specific gene. This gene allows their natural talents to expand and become heightened. Unfortunately, Jack also learns that no Select has lived past 14. It’s at the Institute that Jack receives treatment in order to halt his impending doom – and possible discover the secrets of Atlantis in the process.
The Colossus Rises was fun! It started out a bit slow and bogged-down with all the world-building and explanation, but once the action started, I settled in and enjoyed the ride.
The Select all bear a white λ in their hair. I don’t know if it’ll become key in the following books, but it seemed unnecessary in this one. Especially since it doesn’t really do anything – Aly dyed her hair and her λ is covered, resulting in…nothing. It makes the Select special snowflakes and nothing more.
While reading I couldn’t figure out if certain characters were good guys or bad guys. Even after finishing I’m still questioning certain actions and scenes. The Professor in particular. He used these children as pawns, as a way to discover the heart of Atlantis and uncover the seven hidden powers. However, there were times when it truly felt as though he cared for them.
The children were great. Jack, Cass, Marco, Aly, they all had their own personalities and felt like real kids. They questioned authority, they were scared, they joked around, they missed their parents. Marco was loud and boisterous to the point of being annoying and overdone, but even he was great. Although I could have done without his constant Brother Jack/Sister Aly.
The thing about horror – real-life horror, not the kind you see in movies – is that it is so silent. No screaming sound track, no fancy camera angles. Just two bodies vanishing into the shadows. Gravity doing its work.
Things really got good toward the end. After a mistake on Jack’s part unleashes griffins the kids uncover old riddles and codes telling them where to go to track down the seven powers. The seven wonders of the ancient world. Their first stop: the Colossus of Rhodes. Unfortunately for them, the statue has long since been destroyed and what’s left is buried deep under the sea.
The Colossus Rises is a wonderful start to a new series! Although my studies dealt with other aspects of history, I’ve always been fascinated with ancient history – the Greeks in particular. The seven wonders of the ancient world? Sign me up! From the moment I first heard about this book I was intrigued and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m hoping that, with the world-building and explanations out of the way, the next book will jump right into the action. I can easily see this series appealing to a younger crowd although I certainly enjoyed it myself!