Tuesday, December 2, 2014

*Review* The Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro by J.L. Hickey

Genre: YA/Fantasy
Released: June 30, 2014 (Amazon)
Recommended Age Group - 8-18
Grades: 3-12


Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro follows the young protagonists Hunter Glenn, and Elly Ann through an adventure ripe with adversity, paranormal monsters, secret societies, and most haunting of all, a life without their parents.

The book follows both, the sibling’s emotional struggle from their parent’s sudden loss, as well as their physical journey into a new and strange “home”, an ancient and creepy mansion known only as the Belmonte Estate.

It is here where they first learn of their new guardian, an eccentric old man named Professor Clandestine and the rest of the mansion's caretakers. Tossed into their bedroom, and locked away under the pretense of “safety concerns” it does not take long for the children to hatch an escape plan.

Follow the children as they slowly unravel the secrets of their parent’s true identities, the origin of the strange Mansion, and their inheritance into an ancient secret society of monster hunters known as Seekers.


This story sounds a little juvenile, but it's seemingly told from the perspective of an 11 and 13 year old and targeted towards children, so a bit of juvenility is to be expected. We are introduced to Hunter and Elly on the cab ride to the Belmonte Estate and their sadness is palpable, but who could blame them. Their parents just died and they're being shipped off to live with some man they've never even met. I'd be pretty sad too, if that happened to me. Then they get to the mansion and are immediately locked in their room and only see other residents of the mansion when their meals are delivered. It has a very Flowers in the Attic creepy factor to it. 

Although these kids are juvenile (I know, duh, they're kids), they are really quite smart and resourceful, much like Harry, Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone if you're in the UK). This story really has a lot of similarities to Harry Potter in fact, but it is certainly not a knock-off of HP. I would not be surprised to find out that HP provided some inspiration for the Secret Seekers Society though. Like Harry Potter, I really enjoyed this story.

In spite of the children being confined to their room, they manage to get into their fair share of mischief and trouble, and the story is rather action packed and about half-full of suspense. The characters are fairly well developed, and like I said, the story sounds juvenile, so it's written well for it's targeted age group. My one complaint is that it had quite a few typographical/grammatical errors, not so many that they interfered with the story, but enough that they made an impression on me, and more than I find acceptable in a book this size. 

Overall I give The Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to reading the next book in this series and sharing it with my children in the future. - Katie 

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