The Arctic Code by Matthew J. Kirby

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arctic codeThe Arctic Code by Matthew J. Kirby
Dark Gravity Sequence*; Bk. 1
Balzer + Bray, 2015.

I’ve been a big fan of MJK since The Clockwork Three (Scholastic, 2010), so I was excited to read this venture into series fiction. And while it’s no Icefall (Scholastic, 2011), it will have great appeal for tweens who enjoy fast-paced speculative action.

In this scifi adventure, a new Ice Age has hit the Earth. 12 year-old Eleanor Perry sets off to find her mother, who has gone missing in the Arctic while working for the (possibly villainous) Global Energy Trust.

Eleanor is a tough, resourceful and determined girl and gathers around her a likable team of characters: In Alaska, she meets up with Luke Fournier, a Han Solo-type, in a nicely constructed Wild West style scene. Later, at GET’s research station in the Arctic, she joins forces with Finn and Julian (who add some diversity with their “deep-brown” skins), whose scientist father is also lost with Dr. Perry. However, the villain comes as no surprise and is pretty boilerplate.

The writing is straightforward and unadorned, but should work well for upper elementary readers. The science behind the Freeze and later plot twists is succinctly and clearly explained, if a trifle clunkily inserted

The plot chugs along at a good pace, though there are a couple of leaps of credibility – could three kids really walk 32 miles in a polar storm without any equipment? And how does GET keep its nefarious doings under wraps in the world of the Internet? The climax also feel a little rushed, with explanations and action rapidly piling up.

Nonetheless, this is a solid recommendation for kids who’ve enjoyed The Jupiter Pirates series, and the sequels are nicely set up for Eleanor and co. to travel around the world to save the planet.

*I’m not quite sure why the series is called this, as it appears to be about Dark Energy. Maybe they’re the same thing?

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One response »

  1. Pingback: This week’s round-up of middle grade sci fi and fantasy from around the blogs « Teens Update

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