February 24, 2009

Review: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith

Ghost Circles is the seventh book in the Bone series by Smith and marks the beginning of the third trilogy. The summary assumes you've read the other books in the series. If you haven't, you may want to skip to my thoughts.

My Summary. One night, as the villagers stand outside Old Man's Cave to watch the hundreds of fires lit by the rat creature's army, they are startled by a distant explosion. The volcano has erupted, releasing the Lord of the Locust, who is now free to lead his army on a rampage through the valley. The villagers are finally attacked with the full force of the enemy.

All seems to be falling apart: The dragons have gone underground. The villagers are inexperienced in war and are greatly outnumbered. Lucius lies alone, lost, and wounded on the battlefield. And the valley looks utterly destroyed.

Gran'ma Ben, Thorn, and the Bones have fought their own bloody battles in their race across dangerous and forbidden territory in a desperate attempt to enter the ancient city, where they hope to find a way to save the valley. But before they can reach safety, Smiley collapses, and there is no sure way to keep him alive.

My Thoughts. This is a dark time for the valley, and hope is dwindling. The realities of the battlefield leave the villagers discouraged and scared, while Fone Bone and Thorn are feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Ghost Circles is the darkest volume yet in the Bone series. The focus is on war and the terrible physical and psychological challenges faced by individuals who must live through such horrors.

The colors of the drawings in this volume are more subdued than in most of the earlier books in the series. At Old Man's Cave, the villagers' faces have taken on the haunted look of experienced soldiers. The small party following Thorn appears weary and sad as the arduous trek takes its toll.

This review was cross-posted on my blog Beth Fish Reads.

Published by Scholastic 2008
ISBN-13: 9780439706346
Rating: B+

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