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SPELL ROBBERS by Matthew J. Kirby


From the Quantum League series, volume 1

by Matthew J. Kirby

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-545-50226-9
Publisher: Scholastic

When 12-year-old Ben joins an after-school science club, he has no idea that the price of membership will be the loss of everyone he loves.

Ben has always been a science nerd, but when his abilities in quantum mechanics prove to be more than just academic, it is only a matter of time before his proficiency makes him a target for some very dangerous people. Ben and his new friend Peter are recruited into the Quantum League, a group of special agents with the ability to bend matter to their will or to “actuate.” Actuators can create fire from the air, manipulate another’s emotions, or “detach” a child from his or her family, severing all connections and even memories. When a rival group kidnaps Ben’s mentor and steals a dangerous device, he agrees to help the League if they will reattach him to his mother. This high-energy spy story is enhanced by the addition of scientific theory (if rather unsteadily grounded) and authentic characters. Ben’s integrity, bravery and desire to forgo his special-agent status for his mother differentiate him from other familiar genre heroes. Unfortunately, uneven pacing, loose threads and a meandering plot are ultimately the story’s undoing. An open ending promises a sequel.

Refreshingly different in some ways but ultimately unsatisfying. (Adventure. 8-12)