________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2006


Eyes of the Storm. (Bone #3).

Jeff Smith.
New York, NY: Scholastic, 2006.
174 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 0-439-70638-6.

Subject Headings:
Graphic novels.
Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.

Review by Joanne Peters.

**** /4

On the cover of Eyes of the Storm, a scene is set: Fone is surprised and frightened, Thorn casts a wary glance behind her, rain is starting to fall, and the red-eyed evil rat creatures glower at them through a dark forest. Trouble must be brewing: Gran'ma Ben is rolling up her sleeves in anticipation of yet another fight with dark forces. Of the three “Bone” books published by Scholastic thus far, Eyes of the Storm is definitely the darkest.

internal art

     During the second “Bone” book, Great Cow Race, the rat creatures attacked and damaged the farmhouse in which Gran'ma, Fone, and Thorn have been living. It is clear now that Thorn is in danger, and the dreams which have troubled her before become increasingly more vivid and threatening. Chapter 5 of Eyes of the Storm brings yet another attack by the rat creatures, and, after the Red Dragon reappears and frightens the rat creatures away, Fone and Thorn decide that it's time to show Gran'ma Ben the map that Fone has been carrying around. Finally, long-kept mysteries are explained. As an astute reader might have guessed, Thorn is a princess in hiding. She is the daughter of the King and Queen of Atheia, a valley kingdom which was bordered by mountains in the east (the mountains controlled by the rat creatures) and a western region (inhabited by the dragons). Gran'ma Ben painfully retells the story of the deaths of her daughter and son-in-law, and, as she recounts family history, we see her again as the warrior queen of past. She is dedicated to protecting her granddaughter, Thorn Harvestar, and knows that conflict with the rat creatures is inevitable because the Lord of the Locusts is back.

      Despite the threats, there are light moments as well. As usual, Phoney is scheming. Working at The Barrel Haven, the local tavern, Phoney is attempting to pay off gambling losses sustained from his attempt to “fix” the outcome of the Great Cow Race. Once again, Phoney finds himself in imminent danger from a wrathful mob – this time, it's the patrons of the Barrel Haven - and once again, he saves his skin, this time by setting himself up as a “professional dragon-slayer.” With all that threatens, courage and fighting skills will be in demand.

     Readers of the first two volumes of Scholastic's serialization of the “Bone” series will be happy to continue the story, which is once again, rendered in full colour. At this point, those who haven't read volumes 1 and 2 might have a bit of difficulty picking up the threads of the story as Eyes of the Storm is less of a stand-alone volume than its predecessors. If you haven't bought the first two volumes of the “Bone” series, it's time!

     Eyes of the Storm will appeal to readers of all ages, both sexes, and every level of reading motivation. Read it and enjoy!

Highly Recommended.

Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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