House of Power by Patrick Carman

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Title: The House of Power
Author: Patrick Carmen
Publisher: Little, Brown Young
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy for ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 384
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

My class would not give this book 3.5 out of 5. They would have given it a 5.5 Out of twenty nine third graders, one didn’t like it. One! Every day, when I would read to them after lunch, they’d beg me, “One more chapter! Please!” I’d look at them while I was teaching Math, and they’d be drawing scenes of Atherton on their slates instead of writing number sentences with missing variables. (Well, I can hardly blame them for that.)

“What’s Atherton?” you say. Atherton is the world of which Carman writes, the world that was conceived by Dr. Harding. It’s a multi-layered arrowhead shape, orbiting the Dark Planet, and it’s comprised of the Highlands, Tabletop, and the Flatlands.

The Highlands is where Lord Phineas lives, with his four main advisors: Sir Phillip, Sir Emerick, and Sir William…the fourth, father of Samuel, has mysteriously died. Lord Phineas rules over the levels of Atherton, from his House of Power, because it is he who controls the water source.

But, Tabletop controls the food. Figs, which they grow, and rabbits or sheep, are hauled up to the Highlands in enormous baskets. Edgar tends the trees that produce the figs. He is a brave and adventurous boy, an orphan, who discovers a book and climbs undaunted to the Highlands in order to find someone who will read it to him.

The book contains secret information about Atherton and its destiny. Edgar, glad that he has made new friends, and explored new places, is our hero. But, there are also Samuel and Isabel, who will join him in fighting for the people of Atherton against great odds. And, the likes of evil Lord Phineas.

Will the Highlands, and Tabletop, which have descended onto each other continue to sink? Will Lord Phineas maintain control of the water, or will Isabel and Samuel steal it away? Will the Cleaners, fearsome garbage eating creatures, attack the inhabitants of the Flatlands? Will Edgar find more information about the Dark Planet from where he came? These questions remain unanswered until we open the pages of Rivers of Fire, Book Two.

My children are begging me to begin it on Monday.