Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Review: Manhunt by Kate Messner

Quick Premise: Three kids must hunt down the stolen Mona Lisa through lots of Paris landmarks while being pursued by scary dudes.

Title and Author: Manhunt by Kate Messner
Length: 240 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series or Stand Alone: Book 3 of the Capture the Flag series
Content appropriate for: Grades 4-6
Format: Digital ARC provided by Scholastic via NetGalley
Publication Date: June 24, 2014

Three adjectives that describe this book: adventurous, twisty, atmospheric

I've heard this series described as a cross between Harriet the Spy and National Treasure. I totally agree with this description. This installment is like an art-based National Treasure, set in Paris.

Having not read the first 2 books in this series, Capture the Flag and Hide and Seek, I was really glad that Kate Messner did such a great job of making this book make sense without that background knowledge.

Manhunt is well-researched and wonderfully written. I've never been one to fantasize about visiting Paris, but Messner made me feel totally present in the dusty environs of Notre Dame, the Catacombs, Shakespeare & Co bookshop, and the Conciergerie. I loved the photos provided in the author's note at the end, and I know kids will love that too.

My only complaint is that the primary protagonist, Henry, was really really annoying for the first half of the book. He is constantly complaining, whining, and pouting. It was painful to be reading his perspective because I really just wanted to whack him in the head. Luckily he got better when the danger quotient ratcheted up.

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