The Third Prophecy
Author: Clifton Bush
Publisher: Fabco Inc.
By Nick Blandford; 13; Children's Express
The Third Prophecy is a snowball of a book by local author Clifton Bush. It starts slow but gains momentum as it rolls along.
This religion-based tale is set in autumn 1999, the end of the second millennium. A retired Air Force colonel and an archaeologist, Chris McIver, join up with a mysterious but very powerful band of wealthy people called "The Foundation."
McIver and The Foundation investigate and attempt to understand "The Makers," a group of spirits/aliens who claim to have created and formed the Earth.
The Makers begin speaking through ill and dying people. The Third Prophecy is a very good book, especially considering Bush is a first-time novelist. I found as the story developed, Bush created a stable but twisted plot that had a suspenseful but unresolved conclusion.
His characters were well- developed with strong and recognizable personalities. The setting is probably one of the book's strongest traits, because it is very international. While reading this novel you will visit such places as London, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., and the Vatican.
In the epilogue, the author has a dialogue with a reader of the sequel. Through the reader's knowledge of the second book, Bush explains the ragged ending of The Third Prophecy.
If you are religious, be prepared for Bush's comments and questions in the book about religion and its downfalls.
In an interview with Children's Express, Bush explained that he did not intend to be insulting with his references to religion, but he wanted to provoke thought.
I would highly recommend The Third Prophecy to anyone who is interested in religion, loves suspense and is 14 years or older.
In the Middle of the Night
Author: Robert Cormier
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Price: $15.95 hardcover
By Allison Mikkalo; 15; Children's Expres
In Robert Cormier's latest novel, In the Middle of the Night, the main character, Denny Colbert, lives in a world of isolation. He has never been able to answer the phone, hold a job or get his driver's license. Denny's father imposes these rules, but Denny furthers his isolation by withdrawing from people - his peers in particular.
For as long as he can remember, Denny's father has received harassing phone calls. Denny always has been angered by his father's passive listening to the hateful person on the other end.
There is another passive listener in the book. It is the nameless narrator, who listens as his sister, Lulu, hurls insults over the phone to a man she blames for ruining her life more than 20 years ago.
Told through flashback, a tragedy unfolds in which 22 children were killed almost 25 years ago. Lulu survived and decided to haunt and taunt the man she holds responsible, John Paul Colbert, Denny's father.
Every October, the calls start anew as the anniversary of the tragedy approaches. In a moment of rebellion he does not completely understand, Denny picks up the phone. The repercussions of that action create the plot for the rest of the book.
I cannot recommend this book. Denny's precarious situation holds surprisingly little intrigue. Though the original idea was promising, the novel does not deliver. The book reads like a rough outline for a bad adventure movie.
The characters in this novel are hardly developed. In standard Cormier fashion, there is the awkward adolescent boy, the pretty girl, and the unnamed narrator whose identity is not revealed until the climax. Since the characters' development is stunted, it is hard to relate and empathize with Denny and the others.
The ending is predictable and lacking suspense. The book has its surprises, yet they are few and far between. At its best, this book is an average work from a man who is known for the exemplary.
Robert Cormier is my favorite author, so I was expecting more from him than I would from other authors. Although I was disappointed in In the Middle of the Night, I still feel his books are vastly superior to most of the young-adult dreck out there.