|Fires of Calderon (Balance keepers)|
Author: Cummings, Lindsay
Eleven-year-old Albert Flynn is trained to restore balance to the hidden earthly realms that have fallen into chaos and threaten to destroy the world.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 172535
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/14)
School Library Journal (07/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2014 Most folks don’t know that, at the earth’s core, a large group of people—particularly the Balance Keepers—work together to keep the earth’s three realms in balance. So 11-year-old Albert is surprised when he is summoned to the core and learns that he and his friends Leroy and Birdie are to train to become Balance Keepers under the leadership of his own father. The thrill of discovering previously unknown creatures and developing almost superhuman abilities is tempered by a bully’s unwanted attentions and the reality that one of the realms, Calderon, is so imbalanced that it threatens life above ground. Albert must race against time to reestablish the realm’s balance and keep his own courage in the process. Reminiscent at times of Journey to the Center of the Earth, this series starter moves jerkily for the first 150 pages before finding its rhythm and finishing strong. Cummings’ world building is not perfectly polished, but most readers should get caught up in the action. This is a smart choice for younger readers, who will find in Albert and his friends great role models. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Though the general premise is familiar, there are some engaging elements in this first book of a planned trilogy, as a boy discovers he has magical powers and teams up with other kids to save the world. Eleven-year-old Albert enters the magical underground realm of the Core, where young Balance Keepers use their powers to safeguard the earth. Each Keeper receives a tile that instills a particular ability, such as super-memory or speed, but Albert gets an extra special tile that allows him to use multiple powers. Brisk plotting and multiple action scenes are the strengths here, as Albert and his friends first compete against rival bullies in training sessions, then the pace accelerates as they embark on a real quest to save New York City. They face plenty of dangerous creatures and perilous situations, and seeing the kids apply their powers as well as common sense and teamwork, is fairly absorbing. Albert thinks of his new world as similar to a video game on more than one occasion, and at times the book reads that way, with characters facing one new test after another. Many of the plot constructs echo other children's fantasies, including super powered kids, a hero-training school, sneering bullies, a parent in need of rescue, and even discrimination against impure bloodlines. While some readers may wish for more depth and character development, others will find the familiar structure, coupled with some fun bits of adventure, a comfortably satisfying choice.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.