March 3, 2009

Review: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith

Treasure Hunters is the eighth book in the Bone series by Smith. The summary assumes you've read the other books in the series. At this point, even my thoughts may contain minor spoilers. It's almost impossible not to reveal something of the plot.

My Summary. Lucius and Gran'ma are lucky to have Ted the bug, who can act both as liaison, carrying messages between two, and as spy, keeping an eye on the enemy. To lead the valley people safely to the Atheia, Lucius must find a path through the ghost circles; unfortunately, the citizens of Barrelhaven no longer fully trust him. Briar, who is regaining her strength, musters the rat creature army and hopes to attack the city.

The Bones, Thorn, and Gran'ma learn that Atheia is being governed by corrupt Veni Yan. The only hope our heroes have of protecting the valley and its inhabitants is to stay hidden while finding allies. Meanwhile, Phoney is convinced that there is golden treasure to be found, and he risks everything in an attempt to uncover it.

The guards have been warned of the possibility of Thorn's arrival. The warlord of the city wants the girl captured and then burned at the stake, thereby gaining unopposed power over the valley. Thorn, however, is impulsive and headstrong and may not be as careful as she should be. As the various factions prepare for the final confrontation, even Gran'ma Ben begins to lose hope.

My Thoughts. Treasure Hunters is the penultimate book in the series, and in it the different story lines begin to converge to what promises to be a dramatic end. The Bone cousins are all true to their characters. For example, when Gran'ma Ben asks Fone to keep Phoney out of trouble, Fone responds by saying "Why do I always get the hardest jobs?"

Although the plots are advanced in this novel, the book acts as a pause between the intense action of previous volumes and the anticipated larger battle at the gates of Atheia. The tension is well maintained, and the reader is left with the feeling that there are still surprises to come.

Because the valley was overrun by the rat creatures, most of its inhabitants have gathered at the city. Smith has peopled his world with many types of creatures, from gnomes to lizards to giant bees. The panels showing the city's marketplace are full of detail, and we get hints of each creature's and person's personality and socioeconomic status. The city is fortified and contains ancient ruins, holy places, rooftop patios, and deep dungeons.

Cross-posted at my blog Beth Fish Reads.

Published by Scholastic, 2008
ISBN-13: 9780439706339
Rating B+

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