Ravens of Solemano, or The Order of the Mysterious Men in Black
This second steampunk novel in the Young Inventors Guild trilogy takes place in 1903 and in many locations such as London, New York, and Italy. Once again, five very smart young inventors must solve a mystery involving their disappearing parents, mysterious men in black, and their ever-lurking nemesis, Komar Romak. With their loving schoolteacher, Miss Brett, Wallace, Noah, Jasper, Lucy and Faye work together to figure out the origins of the mysterious men in black and their secretive motivations.
Filled with adventure, travel, and intrigue, this is a cute mystery ideal for ten- to twelve- year-olds. Disappearing acts, exploding trains, and exciting inventions will keep tweens entertained, but the dialogue might irritate the more advanced reader. The men in black have a bad habit of talking in riddles and short sentences that grates a bit on the impatient reader. Overall, this is an interesting tale with many surprises. The story ends with a lot of loose threads; it will be nice to finally figure out the mystery of Kumar Romak in Bowditch’s final installment.
In The Ravens of Solemano, five children embark on a journey with the mysterious men in black and they aren’t really sure why. The men in black are secretive and withhold information as to the location of their parents and why they disappeared. All the while, they are being chased by the infamous Komar Romak, their enemy from the first book in the series. Each character has unique attributes that contribute to the success of the group. For example, one character Lucy, who possesses a remarkable memory, provides incriminating evidence as to who the enemy is. Leaving many questions unanswered, the completion of the trilogy is imminent. Even while possessing surprising plot twists, this book would be more appropriate for a younger age group.
Alice Cochran, age 15