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Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2013 Twelve-year-old Trout St. Kroix doesn’t care about the politics that caused the Robot Wars or the delicate truce between the United Districts and the Robot Territories that ended them. He only cares that his father never came home from the wars and that no sign of his implant signal has ever been found. When Trout takes matters into his own hands and posts a video to the net, begging for any information, it sets off a series of events that Trout never could have imagined. Now his brother has been taken hostage by his own government, his father has been revealed as the leader of a revolutionary movement for robot rights, and Trout is running for his life. Appealing just for its imaginative world-building and fantastic robots, this novel goes farther, offering a thrilling sci-fi adventure with added heart and smarts. The exciting kid-hero narrative combines with an equally compelling family story and a thought-provoking look at basic civil rights and who deserves to have them. Trout is a wonderfully relatable narrator on the verge of adolescence, frustrated by the fact that adults treat him like a child and desperate to prove himself worthy of trust and responsibility. He is backed up by a memorable cast of secondary characters that include a robot bodyguard-turned-best friend, a hilarious robot inventor, and two capable girl compatriots. Loose threads suggest the possibility of sequels, which is likely to please readers as they find Trout and company staying with them long after they finish reading. AM - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/20/2013 Gr 5–7—The Robot Wars have been over for six months, and the former United States is divided into autonomous districts. "Bots" are banned, except in the Bot Territory. Twelve-year-old Trout lives with his older brother, Po, an injured war veteran, in the heavily militarized 5th District. Their father is missing. Hoping to prove that he's still alive, Trout posts a search appeal for him on the Net. Sure enough, his dad's ID thread comes back on, but the message attracts the attention of the authorities. After Po is arrested, Trout realizes that his father and brother are involved in the Meta-Rise pro-bot resistance movement-and now the police are after him as well. He needs to find his dad and rescue Po, a mission that takes him to resistance headquarters in Bot Territory, and, with secrets everywhere, he isn't sure whom he can trust. The dialogue occasionally struggles with dialect and accent, and the constant repetition of slang gets to be a bit much. Some of the most engaging characters are the robots Trout befriends-for example, steady, courageous LT and clumsy but clever mechanic Scissor. The rather complex story line includes a lot of background information about the wars and the resistance and leaves several plot threads open for potential sequels. Science-fiction fans will enjoy the action and subtle exploration of just what it means to be human.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.