Eleven-year-old Orion lives with his stodgy grandfather in eastern Maine, where nothing exciting ever happens. But then a series of strange events draws him into the mystery of a lost explorer, and Orion is swept up in a whirlwind of adventure that takes him to the top of the world. To survive he must outwit a scheming treasure hunter, team up with a gang of flimps, and take on a tyrant with an anger management problem. Can Orion solve the mystery and get back home alive? And just what are flimps, anyway?
Orion Poe is about to find out. Join him as he laughs, cries, bluffs, and shoots his way to the heart of one of the greatest mysteries in the history of exploration. Along the way he discovers that the world is far bigger—and stranger—than he ever imagined.
The story began with Orion Poe taking over as the narrator of his own tale because the previous narrator got some parts of it wrong. It definitely set the stage for the primary target audience of this work which is around middle school to young adult.
First, I loved the external and internal visuals of this work. It matched the ambiance of a big adventure on the water. Since it is hinted there will be more of Orion Poe in the future, I hope to see this same type of alignment with book presentation in future editions.
Second, I applaud the way the tone of the book stayed in character. Here is what I mean. I knew that Orion was narrating the story and I never felt like another individual or voice was trying to take over. The dialect, perceptions and actions were never of a phony stunt double (aka “an adult pretending to be a kid”). This added authenticity to the novel as a whole.
Third, there were some pretty likeable characters. I adored the intelligence, self-reliance and savvy of Orion. I appreciated the different personalities of the crew, in particular Peerless Jones who I had a love/hate relationship with. I found myself wondering whose side was he really on through the whole narrative and it was great to have characters in a work who aren’t exactly cookie cutter good or decisively wicked among the rest.
Four, although there was plenty of action and conflict to go around, not one out showcased the other. All of it worked together to achieve the final destination of the story.
Five, resolution was wonderfully tidy, even though there will be a second book. I think by having a clear resolution to a presented crisis, it not only makes for a better read but it leaves the reader with the option to continue on with other books about Orion Poe without feeling like he/she has missed out on anything.
Six, very balanced chapter lengths made for quick reading so one doesn’t even realize the length of the book.
Seven, if there were any errors with spelling, grammar and punctuation they were slight or nonexistent.
The only cons I had about Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer:
- The adventure didn’t take place as soon as I would have anticipated.
- The development of Orion taking center stage and being really invested in the events was slightly slow in relation to the length of the book.
- More of the grandfather, since his quirky ways reminded me of my own grandfather in his heyday.
If you are a fan of Treasure Island, Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer will definitely appeal to the need for sea adventure. This novel also speaks to one’s own inner child looking for a heroic thrill.
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