Author: Jenny Davidson
Published: HarperTeen, 2008
Genre: Historical fiction/Mystery
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: B
15-year-old Sophie lives in a dangerous time on the brink of war; full of terrorism, dark secrets, politics, and betrayal. A bomb that goes off near Sophie's school sets off a chain of mysteries, including a dark prophecy made by a psychic medium that is murdered shortly after. Does the medium know anything about the bombings? Is Sophie's handsome chemistry teacher (who is very knowledgable about dynamite) involved? Sophie and her friend Mikael need to get to the bottom of the mysteries, in order to save themselves--as well as the rest of Europe.
My thoughts: The Explosionist is a heavy book. Not only is it a long book, but it is also dense. Ms. Davidson has packed tons of information in here, which creates a complicated plot that can be confusing to the reader from time to time.
However, The Explosionist was extremely well-written. Ms. Davidson clearly put in a lot of research to perfect the historical details of her book, and it paid off. As I flipped through the pages, I felt like I was submerged in Sophie's 1930's-Scotland. Every action and character came to life in my head.
I loved how Ms. Davidson created an alternate-universe Scotland brimming with complex politics, the possibility of war, betrayal, technology, and psychic happenings.
I just felt like there was too much going on: the bomb going off over near Sophie's school, the romance aspect, the murder of the psychic, Sophie's connection with the spirit world, the possibility of war, a school that brainwashes girls...I felt like a lot of this material went uncovered in the end, adding to my unclear confusion. After the long lead-up and the murder and explosions, the mystery aspect of the book kind of faded away.
Nonetheless, I look forward reading the sequel in hopes of clarification and more heart-pounding adventure.