Friday, April 27, 2012

Fear Itself

Fear Itself (Benajamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School, 2) by Andrew Clements, 2010. 216 pages. Published by Atheneum. Source: Library.
Time is ticking as the countdown to total school demolition continues. But in addition to deciphering maritime clues that could save the building, Ben Pratt and his friend Jill have to stay one step ahead of Lyman, the snake posing as the school janitor—who will do anything to preserve the $30 million development deal that pays his salary. The second book in this riveting six-book series is as action-packed as the first one, culminating in a faceoff between Ben and Lyman. “After five bells sound, time to sit down” makes for a good riddle, but Ben also knows when it’s time to stand up…for Oakes School and for himself.
Since I read both the first and second book one after the other, I thought it be nice to review them back-to-back on the blog. Huzzah.

After finishing We the Children, I was glad that I had brought the second book along because I really wanted to know how things would progress in the second book, plus I totally would have been bored with nothing to read during a four hour road trip.

Like I'll mention later in this review, the plot was a little sluggish in Fear Itself. Although the plot did not move along too much in the second book, I liked the continuity of the story from book one to book two and how it just kind of flowed into the next chapter of Ben and Jill's quest to save the school. Mr. Clements definitely did a great job in the respect, as well, as with the characters.

I was glad to see that as the second book progressed, we finally got to see Ben being a little less controlling and acting like he knew exactly what they needed to do. It was definitely nice to see him sharing more of the responsibilty with Jill.
One of the reasons I like Jill, and this only hit me in Fear Itself, is that she kind of reminds me of Sally Lockhart and Hermoine Granger in that she's both smart and willing to do what she feels is right.
Whenever Lyman, the evil janitor spy for corporation bent on destroying the school is mentioned, I always see/hear his name as lying man. Which just so happens to suit him quite well. So, why his name may be funny, Lyman actually makes a really good advasary in the book. The reason he works out so well as the face of evil for the corporation is because he's a nasty piece of work and is not above threatening Ben and Jill and trying to scare them off.

My favorite part of Fear Itself (besides the awesome title) would have to be the characters. I liked that in the second book there was a little more character interaction then the previous book, and that you got to see more of what makes them tick. But what really made the characters so much better in this book was that you got to see behind the brave front that they wore in the first book. I liked that they were able to fear the consequences and dangers of their appointed mission, also that they admitted that they were indeed scared of what could happen.

While I generally loved Fear Itself, did have one problem with it and that was that the plot seemed to have not made to much forward progress. Even though the writing and characters were still strong and enjoyable, I thought that maybe something could have/should have been done to move things along. Because at times it felt like the book was just covering the same ground as book one.

Final Verdict: Fear Itself, an interesting read that sets up the next installment in in the series.  

Fear Itself earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School:
We the Children
Fear Itself
Whites of the Their Eyes

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