Thursday, May 17, 2012

James Gough - CLOAK

by James Gough

Kindle Edition Available

Product Description (from Amazon)

Thirteen-year-old bubble boy Will Tuttle lives a boring, friendless life trapped in a sterile Brooklyn apartment, suffering from mysterious allergies no doctor can explain. Fed up with his pointless existence he breaks free of his bubble to explore New York City, not expecting to return alive. Along the way, Will discovers that his countless allergies have a single, bizarre source.

Suddenly Will is a target. When he's chased through Central Park by a cloaked assailant, a misfit team of bodyguards shows up to keep Will Tuttle alive. . . . And teach him how to blend into a society that isn’t supposed to exist.

About the Author (from Amazon)
James Gough was born in the Rockies, raised in the Dakotas, schooled in a mountain desert, trained south of the border and wooed by the Big Apple. He now lives in a forest near a great lake with three bright daughters, a brilliant wife and a dim-witted dog.

His debut novel, CLOAK, was born from a single question: Why are there so many myths, legends and stories about talking animals? It smelled like a cover-up. So he dug deeper. What he found surprised even him. Some discoveries just need to be written about.

James has been an actor, an artist, and athlete and an advertising creative. He is thrilled to add author to the list. Besides writing, he loves to teach, is obsessed with strange foods and has always been an avid people-watcher. Once, he saw a well-dressed possum in Grand Central Station; and he is willing to bet that a night guard he met in Detroit was half pit-viper, but it is hard to be sure.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Rachel

Mythology has long fascinated me, so when I saw this YA book on Pixels of Ink, I couldn’t wait to read it.

At first, I had a hard time shifting from the prologue to the chapters, they seemed to be totally unrelated, but after a few more chapters, I did find the connection. The story starts off rather slow, but if you will plow through for a chapter or two, suddenly you will find it very hard to put down. The story and the adventure were amazing, and the world so believable, by the time you were half way through, you were chuckling and wondering if some people you know were really ... under a cloak.

------------------------ Basic Plot ------------------------

Will Tuttle is a 6ft 13 year old boy. But he has never been normal. Severe allergies have confined him to a small plastic bubble sauna like room since the day he was born. He is allergic to almost everything ... except items produced before 1950. His only companion is Nurse Grundel, as his parents do a lot of traveling. Nurse Grundel is not a nice care taker, and Will takes any opportunity to escape his bubble and ride the city bus – even with the certain risk of ending up in the hospital instead of making it back home. His most disconcerting symptom of his allergies though, are the hallucinations ... some people look like .... animals.

As the story starts, Will is escaping for yet another adventure. While on the bus, a Yak man sits next to Will. Will is usually very careful about his hallucinations, but cannot help himself when he sees that the man is going to catch a horn on the bus as he exists, and yells a warning. The look on the man’s face causes Will to leave the bus and follow the yak, until he realizes that he is being chased. Panic ensues as Will tries to escape, only to wake up in the hospital.

Strange goes to stranger, as Will discovers that his new nurse is a cat, and his doctor is an owl. He has a new prescription for Will, and for the first time in his life, he can walk about like a normal boy. Dr. Noctua explains everything to Will. I’m not going to tell you, but it is absolutely a delightfully strange explaination. But danger follows Will, and he is whisked away across the country in the strangest airplane ride ever, to a secret hospital in the West. All of these animal people are Enchants. Will is the first Immune to be born in a very long time, and the first one found outside of one family (well known for their fairy tales).

Once in the hospital, Will discovers that he is still far from safe. He pretends to be a gerbil to hide from a spy. But who is the spy who wants all of the Immune’s dead? He finds a best friend in Dr. Noctua’s daughter, Margarit (Mars), a blind bat girl with purple hair. But who does he trust with all of the secrets that he is becoming entrusted with on almost an hourly basis. Then in the middle of his get acquainted with the hospital tour ... the ant people suddenly appear in front of him. The ant people have been banned since the big attack on the Immunes. But nothing is as it seems.

Will has to decide who to trust – and learn a whole new way of life. He can’t have meat (he’s a gerbil, remember?) but he craves bacon. One morning he awakes to a room full of bacon. Then Liska shows up to investigate the Builders (the ant people) sudden appearance. Just whose side is she on? Is Will safe? He seems to have enemies on every side, and the attacker from his home city has found him again.

The big question is whether Will can survive to unravel all of the mysteries, or will he be murdered as an Immune as well.
This has got to be one of the most fun books that I have read in a long time. There were a few slow spots, but sooner or later, the details worked their way into the story as being important to the plot. Just when you THINK you know who the informer is and who is to blame ... the story takes a roller coaster twist and leaves you gasping.

This book is probably fine for younger kids, especially boys, but there is quite a lot of fighting and violence. It is quite a long read, but the story reads fairly easily.

This book would probably be best enjoyed by boys and those who enjoy mythology.

Genre/Theme: Fantasy, Mythology, Modern USA
Reading Level: (by appropriateness) TEEN - upper elementary to middle school
Profanity: (by amount in text) LOW - few mildly offensive words
While I do not remember seeing any really bad words, a few may have snuck past me.
Sexuality: (by content) SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit
Other: There are parts of this book that are quite violent, and some are rather sickening, such as comments about feeding baby fly people.

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