Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Traitors' Gate by Avi

Avi’s new book The Traitors’ Gate is a very compelling read. Avi uses many adjectives and describes each character with detail and brings each plot to life in your mind. Because of the immense detail the book is harder to read, and takes patience. But your patience will pay off as the plot goes on, and all the story’s loose ends come together and are explained. The book follows a very likable boy whose situation is grave, as everyone in his family depends on him, and their fate rests in his young hands. The story takes you on a journey, through the busy streets of England into the poorest slums, but it also takes you on the boy’s journey within himself. It is also a bit of a mystery, and all in all, makes for a good read.

The book starts with a prologue that describes a scene that will only make sense to you later in the story. Then the true story starts with an in-depth look into John Huffman’s everyday life, which already is tough on him. Things only get worse for the 14-year-old and things only get more confusing. With so many new characters being introduced each chapter, it is easy to get a little lost. But, towards the end of the book events begin to make sense. Connections are made, identities are exposed, and the best chapters of the book begin toward the conclusion of the story. The story is recounted by John, and so is written in first person. This style works for the book’s plot as it gives us a chance to see what John thinks of such a muddle. I enjoyed the book and think its hint of mystery makes it more interesting. Certain plot twists clear mysteries up, while others are surprising. I think Avi creates solid, likable characters and gives them personality. Each of his characters has a certain persona that can be matched to your own life, like a mean teacher, an unlikable relative, an annoying acquaintance, or a care-free friend. The ending felt a bit incomplete and the final quote from the traitor a bit confusing, but in the very last two pages, Avi sums it up nicely. I would recommend this book. When you get to the good stuff, it’s hard to put down.

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9

Reviewer Age: 12
Reviewer City, State and Country: South Pasadena, California USA