Monday, April 10, 2017

Edison's Alley - Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Summary: Both Nick and the Accelerati have learned that the strange objects Nikola Tesla left in Nick’s attic are pieces of a Far Range Energy Emitter, capable of transmitting “free energy” to the globe. Some components of the contraption are still missing, but the objects themselves seem to be leading Nick to their current owners. Each piece is with the person who needs it the most.

But there are plenty of obstacles: Nick finds his judgment impaired by Caitlin’s intoxicating closeness, not to mention her ex-boyfriend Theo’s jealous sabotage; Mitch has to choose between pleasing Petula or helping Nick; and Vince, who gets his hands on some light-absorbing drapes, is so taken by the darkness, he can’t let them go. 

The Accelerati, meanwhile, are still around every corner, and they manage to beat Nick to a few more objects. They use the few pieces of Tesla’s technology they've recovered to create a storm and convince local officials that the Tesla F.R.E.E. is hazardous.The objects are confiscated by the Accelerati as the town brings in a wrecking ball to demolish Nick’s house.

The Accelerati transport the objects back to their lab, hidden under the Edison Museum in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Nick knows that is where he’ll find his destiny. (Summary and image from goodreads.com)

Review: Okay, so we left Nick after he hit an asteroid out of the atmosphere. Because, you know, averting a minor crisis like the end of the world is an everyday occurrence in Anytown, U.S.A., right? However, things are heating up. The stress of last book’s events, the added pressure of trying to stop the Accelerati from whatever it is they’re now plotting to do, and to cap it all off, trying to keep his dad in the dark, is wearing on Nick. How is he supposed to do this all, and figure out his relationship with Caitlin?

Remember when you read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and you thought “Wow, that’s a clever book. What fun! I can’t wait to read the next book of fun and not-having-to-think-too-hard!” and then Chamber of Secrets came out and everything got so much more real? Yup. I had very similar feelings about Edison’s Alley.  Don’t get me wrong. The mirth, the easy reading, and the catching storylines are all still very much present. This is still a really fun book in which to lose yourself. But things just got real. All of a sudden, some of the little nuances and whispers of the first book start to come to light, the reality starts to sink in, and I loved realizing that there was so much more to this series than meets the eye. It does get darker. It gets a little more science-fiction-y. But the writing is maturing with the series, and even our minor, cameo characters are presented with more depth and fulness than I expected.

Rating: Four stars

For the Sensitive Reader: There’s a death.

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