by Michael Dante DiMartino
Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: Rebel Geniuses
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (October 4, 2016)
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A new fantasy-adventure series from the co-creator of the hit animated shows Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra!To start, know that I am a devout Avatar: The Last Airbender fan. I LURVE THAT SHOW. (The author of this here novel is the creator of Avatar, so major points right there.)
In twelve-year-old Giacomo's Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. A few artists possess Geniuses, birdlike creatures that are the living embodiment of an artist's creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punishment akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he's in serious trouble.
Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools--objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path―Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him.
This book is set in an alternate Italy, basically. The main character's name is Giacomo, and if that's not Italian, I don't know what is. The whole concept of the novel was so incredibly creative. Artists have Geniuses which come in the form of birds that wear a crown. For example, Melina, a fellow character, has a Crane Genius. The Genius' help with people's artistic ability. But naturally, some guy took it a little too far and created a Tulpa (a walking, talking person made entirely of clay), which did not sit well with the dictator of Giacomo's hometown.
Michael Dante DiMartino (I WANT THAT NAME) did a great job of explaining everything clearly and creating an adventurous, and really rather perilous, plot. Giacomo and some friends are in a race against aforementioned bad guy to collect the Creator's (their god) three Sacred Tools. The journey was incredibly fun and, at times, rather violent. At one point they have to cross this valley of death where there are invisible lizards that like to chow down on anybody that passes through. Creepy. Bloody. But cool.
I know what you're wondering. Was there a cabbage man? No, I'm sorry, but for a brief moment, there was a fruit man.
This book was fun and quick (with cute little drawings every few pages!), but it didn't have a whole lot of world building. And the mission wasn't completely resolved in the end, I felt, but I don't think is a series. Overall, it was a solid middle grade adventure.