By Jessica Rising
526 pages – ages 10+
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on February 7, 2013)
Trevor Tate was tired of getting into trouble in school. He didn’t even argue this time when he went to the principal’s office. People called him a bully, but they didn’t understand that he was only trying to help other kids who were getting picked on. Trevor really wanted to be a hero, but this hero was going to be in big trouble when he got home and tells his mom he got suspended from school again. Instead of facing an angry mom, he sees the unbelievable scene of is mom getting grabbed by some sort of tentacle that grabs her and sucks her down into the bathtub drain! Trevor tries to explain what happened to his sisters, who think he’s crazy, but are soon convinced when they get an eerie message from Dr. Fixit telling them that they will be his champions of honor and justice in the world of Nil. The kids follow their mom through the drain pipe to Nil, where they meet up with dangers they never imagined (giant bugs and mechanical monsters). Nil looked a lot like Earth, but only pretty much destroyed and there were no parents – no adults – only Kids and Teens. To make things worse the Kids and Teens were enemies who constantly fight each other. Trevor and his sisters don’t understand what is going on, but they know they have to find Dr. Fixit and rescue their mom. The Kids of Nil think that Trevor and his sister Tabitha are the legendary Guts and Glory, Kids sent to help them defeat the Teens. Trevor really wants to be this hero, but the things he learns in Nil makes him question if he really is meant to be one.
This dystopian adventure ROCKED through about 3/4 of the book. Let me tell you about the 3/4 first! The world of Nil that Ms. Rising created was totally awesome and it was easy for me to lose myself in the story. I loved that one of the main “Kid” characters from Nil, Books (love the name), lived in a demolished book store in a mall and got super-smart by reading. It is a long book, but the reading level and content were totally appropriate for middle graders or YA readers. Trevor and his sisters were great characters. I liked Trevor a lot especially that he wanted to be a hero and do the right thing. The Dr. Fixit character was creepy (which he should be), but we don’t learn a lot about him. The sketchy artwork throughout the book was great. It really went well with the dystopian idea of the book. The plot of the story really went well through most of the book but there were some things I kept waiting to be explained that never were. Some of the things, I figured that we will learn as the series goes on and that’s okay (like more about Dr. Fixit and more on how Trevor’s mom fits into it all), but there were things I thought should have been explained a bit more in this book like why is the world of Nil destroyed and why it’s a lot like Earth, where did Nil come from. Because of this, I felt like the story for this book didn’t end quite right, I had too many questions. Even though I had a problem with some unanswered questions, I loved the story and Ms. Rising’s writing style and the fact she wrote a kid-friendly book packed with action and excitement. I already have asked my parents to get me the next book in the series, “The Counterfeit Zombies of Noc” when it comes out.
To learn more about Jessica Rising and her books, please visit the Guts and Glory website by clicking HERE.