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Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer
Eleven-year-old Orion Poe lives with his stodgy grandfather on the coast of Maine, where nothing exciting ever happens. But then a series of strange events draws him into the mystery of a lost explorer, and Orion is swept up in a whirlwind of adventure that takes him to the top of the world. To survive he must outwit a scheming treasure hunter, team up with a gang of flimps, and take on a tyrant with an anger management problem. Can Orion solve the mystery and get back home alive? And just what are flimps, anyway? Orion Poe is about to find out. Join him as he laughs, cries, bluffs, and shoots his way to the heart of one of the greatest mysteries in the history of exploration. Along the way he discovers that the world is far bigger—and stranger—than he ever imagined.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Young Orion Poe discovers the fate of the Franklin Expedition in this unlikely, but highly entertaining middle-grade steampunk adventure. Sailing terminology, descriptive passages, and short cliffhanger chapters give the yarn great atmosphere, suspense, and pacing. The connection to a historical mystery adds dimension and interest, while Orion’s narrative voice is consistent and expressive. Characters are not terribly deep, but readers won’t care: the story’s the point and there’s plenty of that.

Date Submitted: September 27, 2016

Reviews
Amazon Top 500 Reviewer

A ripping yarn... a wild, roller coaster adventure ride.

Bookworm for Kids

The best children’s fantasy I’ve read in a long time.

Forward Clarion

A fast-paced, richly-detailed adventure... This book will be highly regarded by (younger) readers who enjoy adventure, mystery, a little blood and gore, and a protagonist who takes on and beats the bad guys. (5-star review)

IndieReader

A grand adventure... The situations in which Orion finds himself are chilling enough to keep readers on the edge of their seats, but not scary enough to cause nightmares. (5-star review)

Kirkus Reviews

A wild, imaginative adventure... Orion is a smart, fun-loving boy whose bravery and humor mark him a timeless hero alongside Huckleberry Finn. Recommended for any young reader who loves adventure.

Midwest Book Review

A gripping adventure/fantasy tale for young readers ages 9 and older. Even the most reluctant young reader will find this saga promises an energetic, vivid read.

Publishers Weekly

Summerhouse delivers a rousing story filled with action and tense moments. Orion is subject to enough death-defying circumstances to lay low people twice his age, but most young readers should find it easy to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.

The Children’s Book Review

The storytelling feels timeless... a true page-turner.

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