2.0 out of 5 starsParents: Skip this one for your boys
31 October 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
****SPOILERS FOR PARENTS****
I don't normally write about the plot in reviews or regurgitate the back cover blurb, and I won't be doing much of that here. But before you buy this for your 9 to 12 year old, here's some warning from one parent of the target audience to another. I have 12 and 13 year old boys, the youngest is a reader and I would not let him read this.
I've really wanted to like this series, I know it gets better having read a couple of later installments such as The Curse of the Ancient Emerald (Hardy Boys Adventures) and Deception on the Set: Hardy Boys Adventures, Book 8, so I backtracked and read the first three here Hardy Boys Adventures 3-Books-in-1!: Secret of the Red Arrow; Mystery of the Phantom Heist; The Vanishing Game which were promising.
Then I came to this. Into Thin Air is a continuation, almost an addendum to book 3 The Vanishing Game, which ended with some resolution and a cliffhanger leading to this short (20,000 words as opposed to the normal 30,000+) continuation.
The characterization of the boys is still good. The Deal is completely gone, replaced by an agreement that the boys will keep their dad and police informed of their activities. There's warnings, danger and investigation. All the elements that make this series fun for 9-12 year old boys. There is humor, especially with the new principal, and a teaser that the Red Arrow is still around for a later appearance.
A couple of nit-picking things, mostly for the copy editor: The cover is wrong. Joe is driving, not Frank, the car doesn't get hit, and the road is wrong (it should be an intersection). At the end of this scene Frank rolls down his window, which would be redundant because a key element of the scene is that all the windows are already down.
Now for what I didn't like. Joe's girlfriend in the last book, Daisy, breaks up with him toward the end of that story right before she goes missing in a similar manner as the other vanished kids. In this book the boys are tirelessly searching for her. They are warned off a few times, once with an aged rattlesnake whose appearance narrows the field of suspects. They are then lured back to the amusement park presumably to rescue Daisy.
But Daisy is the real criminal and here's where I turn off and think you should too.
The femme fatale element is too provocative and suggestive on several levels for this age group. I'm not being prudish, I know this age group. It's just not appropriate. As Joe's ex-girlfriend, she now wants to imprison him and her brother (see below); her clothing is too grown up (and inexplicably expensive), and she's armed with a taser. This is after she's knocked both of them out with an aluminum baseball bat. Having seen my oldest son through two concussions I thought this was unnecessary and made worse because there seemed to be no ill effects after the adventure was over.
The other plot element was that she planned to lock them in a small crawl space with barely enough room for one person, no way to stand up, and with only water for two weeks. Even though the boys get out quickly (Frank places his finger in the latch and clicks his tongue to mimic the sound of it catching), the lead up to this is a little too frightening or disturbing for younger readers.
I still think this is a promising series and, as I said, it does get better, but this is not a good addition for the age group it's supposedly written for. Skip this one.
4.0 out of 5 starsHaving to gloss over the sexism and other wee bits of non-PCness in the old series was getting a little tiresome. Hooray for fem
7 August 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
Refreshing to read an updated Hardy Boys book. My kid is a Hardy Boys fanatic, and being as I'm the one who has to read them out loud before bedtime, I am thrilled that they've updated the series, and that the stories are told with first person POV's. Having to gloss over the sexism and other wee bits of non-PCness in the old series was getting a little tiresome. Hooray for female characters who do more than bake pies for picnics! And characters of varying ethnicities!
PS: The wrong cover is displaying on Kindle--this is not Nancy Drew. I can't figure out who to notify, but perhaps someone reading this can?