Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they’ve turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack. But now the very place that brought them together – the Loggerhead Island Research Institute – is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it.
So when Tory learns of an old Charleston legend about a famous she-pirate, Anne Bonney, whose fortune was never found, she can’t believe her luck – buried treasure is exactly what she needs to save the Institute on Loggerhead! Trouble is, she and her friends aren’t the only ones looking for it. And this time, the Virals’ special powers may not be enough to dig them out of trouble…
I have to say, I’m a little torn about this one. You know me, I always enjoy a good dose of teen sleuthing (and I very much enjoyed Virals, the first book in Kathy Reichs’ YA series), but Seizure is a story that stretched and strained my credulity just a bit too much for my liking.
On the plus side, there is plenty to enjoy about this book – fun adventure, pirate treasure, and an intelligent, capable female lead. The rat pack of teens that make up the Virals are an eclectic, amusingly nerdy bunch and it’s always wonderful to see a story where kids get to be unabashedly smart – plus the paranormal touch adds some fun spice. The characters feel authentically teen, but they’re far too busy searching for clues and sneaking out at night to get caught up in any melodramatics, which makes for a very refreshing YA read.
As for the mystery the Virals are out to solve – the location of Anne Bonney’s legendary pirate treasure – there were plenty of interesting clues and fun flashlight-in-the-dark moments, but I just kept tripping over some of the more incredulous coincidences that led to our sleuths’ various discoveries. About the time the Virals happen to see a newspaper ad for a pawn shop, which happens to showcase wares that display the very symbol they are looking for, and so they go and happen to find authentic historic documents that happen to have the exact clue they need…I felt my eyes starting to roll. Add to that the miraculous discovery of hitherto undiscovered tunnels, a series of Goonies-ish pirate traps, and the slightly ridiculous regularity with which guns were being waved in the faces of our heroes, and I just choked a bit. I probably would have been a bit more forgiving of it all if this series wasn’t generally so well grounded in how it goes about uncovering clues (usually with the application of science, in the patented Kathy Reichs style), but the cognitive dissonance of such ludicrousness side by side with intelligent, fact based investigation was downright grating. One of the villains pretty much summed it up when they said (during their villainous monologuing) something to the effect of: “I’ve been looking for this treasure for years, and you kids found this in one week?!? I don’t believe it…” Well, neither did I.
But honestly, this IS a paranormally-tinged YA adventure – it’s hardly the type of story to be bound by scientific veracity. It’s just that I’m usually pretty apt when it comes to suspending my disbelief, and yet this story still managed to trip my wire. I guess it all comes down to your ability as a reader to suspend disbelief – if you can manage to fully disengage your logic center, you’ll be able to unreservedly enjoy this story. And even if you can’t, this story still manages to be a lot of fun.
So despite my eye rolling, there is no denying that Seizure is one rollicking adventure mystery that makes for a fast, entertaining read. I mean, really – who can resist pirate treasure?
Byrt Grade: B+
As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…
Dodging bullets, slipping out after curfew, following obscure clues into underground tunnels, not to mention Cotillion duties and snarky classmates, are just part of the adventure…Reichs taps into the angst of teens, fear of separation and the uncertainty of today’s economy and wraps it all in an entertaining yarn of history, pirates and modern technology.
The plot is full of adventure, but not plausible. But, it’s fiction, so who cares?