Thursday, August 28, 2008

Firestorm (Caretaker #1) Whirlwind (Caretaker#2) by klass

From the distant future in which earth's environment has been completely destroyed by greedy people comes a beacon of hope. A child has been sent back in time and raised by foster parents until his teen years when he is discovered by those who would have him dead and keep earth's resources for themselves. He flees with little knowledge of his foes or his purpose. Jake meets up with Eko a teenager sent back in time to be his trainer and ultimately his future mate with whom he will repopulate earth if they manage to save it. In addition there is Gisko, a dog who has inside information about what is going on, protects and guides Jake to a certain extent and is a wonderful, intelligent, curmudgeonly canine companion. Jake's first mission is to keep a certain creep from destroying the last pristine coral reef in the ocean. The actions of the first book spawn problems which must be cared for in the second. In this story, Jake and company are preventing total destruction of the South American RainForests. There will be a third book presumably action will be needed as the result of the actions of the second book. The action is fast paced. The characters are well drawn and likeable. I found myself pulling for even some of the minor ones. Jake is torn between two lovers and both relationships are quite sensual. The descriptions of ocean reefs and rainforests lush, intriguing. But, I found I couldn't look at this story too closely without finding many faults. Gisko, the dog explains away discrepancies and difficulties just as I began to wonder "how could that be?" The baddies are really powerful and destructive and truly I do not see what really they hope to accomplish. Once the earth is totally destroyed - are not their lives without purpose too? Jake has a watch and a necklace from his mother that appear to hold powers and come to life just in the nick of time but Jake is very incurious about them, doesn't try to use them in times of needs or figure out how they work. He just notices they suddenly start shining. Eko and Gisko suddenly wink in and out of existence weirdly. There is a gap between end of first book and beginning of second only partially explained. Stories like this, like MacHale's Pendragon series, like Patterson's Maximum Ride series are usually read by 5th-7th graders but the sensual romance pretty much eliminates that audience so I'm not sure who I would recommend it to. I guess I would say this is a fast paced entertaining read for 8th through 10th graders, just don't think too hard.

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