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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

How can twelve-year-old Gabriel find his missing father, who seems to have vanished without a trace? With the help of Paladin—a young raven with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature—he flies to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face a series of difficult challenges and unanswerable riddles that could lead to his father... or to his death.…

Overall Book Review:

Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle is a middle grade fantasy set in Brooklyn and the underground city of Aviopolis.  There is magic, talking birds, dancing desks, flying, and yes, there are riddles a-plenty.  Strewn throughout the book are riddles and a few puns are thrown in for good measure.  While this book does not have the frantic adrenaline-rushed action that is popular these days, it clips right along without a lull.  There is also some charming humor, particularly in the characterization of various individuals.  With a mix of eclectic and empathetic characters, both male and female, this novel will appeal to both girl and boy readers.  Although this novel is a self-contained story, the author leaves the smallest wisp of a crack in the door, allowing for the possibility of more adventures in the future for Gabriel, his friends, and his father.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Bully lifts another off feet, hits with a backpack, bruises arm, slams volleyball purposefully to give a bloody nose, punches, puts in headlock, verbally threatens (all instances are brief and non-detailed); animal has a broken leg; animals eat the flesh of dead humans; tale of animal eating flesh of prior owner; report of birds attacking other birds and fighting; report of an animal’s death; report of a human eating a bird and transforming; 2-3 page scene of animals fighting resulting in injuries and death; instances of abduction; parent hits a child; animal slashes (minor) a human’s wrist/throat, mention of blood;  vaporization of animals with magic; destruction of property; threats; scratching; report of a fall and minor injury to limb; magical transformation of a human.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Bullying, child abuse (physical/emotional), missing parent.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Character offers to throw in some wine and cigars when attempting to buy something from some children–the children point out their age and decline; incident is meant to be humorous.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!