Growing Bookworms Newsletter: November 8
Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon: Jenni Holm and Matt Holm

The Necropolis: P.J. Hoover

Book: The Necropolis, The Forgotten Worlds Trilogy, Book 3
Author: P. J. Hoover (blog)
Pages: 320
Age Range: 10-14

Necropolis The Necropolis is the final book in P.J. Hoover's middle grade science fiction trilogy, The Forgotten Worlds. The premise of the series is that the world has two additional, hidden continents, Atlantis and Lemuria, both populated by telegens. Telegens, like protagonist Benjamin Holt, are similar to humans, but with special abilities like telekinesis and telepathy. Benjamin is special even among telegens, and finds himself, with the help of a core group of friends, on a mission to save the world.

I don't want to say too much about the plot of this third book, because I'd rather recommend that you go read the whole series. So I'll just say that these are complex books, with plots that jump around in time and space (the characters literally jumping, via teleportation and time travel), and a fairly large cast of characters. The Necropolis has everything from Oracles to telekinetic bonds to DNA-splicing. Apollo and Chronos both play a part, as do the Egyptian pyramids. This makes for a nice mix of pure science fiction and mythology (as explained by science fiction).

This is all set against a backdrop of middle school relationships. Benjamin has a very poorly concealed crush on his friend Heidi. He and his friend Andy feel too awkward to show their affection for one another (only hugging the girls after dangerous moments). There's a bit of rivalry between the boys over telegenetic skills. And all of this is conveyed using a light-hearted, matter-of-fact tone that feels just right for the audience and subject matter. Here are a couple of examples:

"Man, Heidi really had a nice smile. Not that Benjamin noticed. But there was just something about it that made his insides feel kind of squishy and warm." (Page 42, ARC)

"Benjamin teleported a couple hallways away. Sitting down on a bench, he took a moment to gather his thoughts. In the space of only a couple hours, he'd moved from Virginia, found out Nathan Nyx was his crazy half-brother who planned to kill him, and learned that Iva had known everything all along. He couldn't believe she hadn't told him. Was she so caught up in Andy that she'd forgotten about Benjamin's burden? As if he wanted to save the world." (Page 11, ARC)

See? Adolescent angst, crazy half-brothers, teleportation, and saving the world, all in one paragraph. Perfect! Though I must confess that my favorite characters are the two Nogicals, little genetically engineered creatures with green skin, strong telekinetic abilities, and a hearty dose of sibling rivalry.

The Necropolis is a solid ending to an enjoyable series. My only complaint is that I wish that I had gone back to read The Emerald Tablet and The Navel of the World before reading this one. (And I could have - I have all three books - I just didn't take the time.) I think I would have enjoyed the experience more if I had read all three books together, keeping all of the details in my woefully short memory. Which makes it an opportunity for new readers of the series to dive in and read all of the books together. Amazon lists this series as being for 9-12 year olds, but I think it's more of a middle school than an elementary school series.

As I've said before, I think that there's a shortage of good science fiction for kids. And the Forgotten World series goes a long way towards filling that gap. The mix of gods, mental powers, and teenage interpersonal relationships is just right for the target audience. HIghly recommended.

Publisher: CBAY Books
Publication Date: October 16, 2010
Source of Book: Advanced review copy from the author

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).