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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book Review: Ring of Fire Century Quartet Book I by P. D. Baccalario

Ring of Fire Century Quartet Book I by P. D. Baccalario
Buy Ring of Fire Century Quartet Book I by P. D. Baccalario

Ring of Fire Century Quartet Book I
by P. D. Baccalario
Century Series

Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0-375-85895-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85895-6
Publication Date: September, 2009
List Price: $16.99

Review: “I want The Ring of Fire” Mahler whispers. A long silence. The sound of dripping water. Rome echoing out in the distance. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “You’re the Guardian”, whispers Jacob Mahler. “And a Guardian always has something to guard. I’ve come to get it.’’ Exciting! Mysterious! Cover to cover action packed! The Ring of Fire (written by P.D. Baccalario) is an eccentric, fun filled story that has it all! No matter how you slice it, four children always seem to reach into danger’s grasp! Will these four children be able to save the world or will the ring of fire fall into the wrong hands? “Every hundred years, humankind is put to the test. Every hundred years, four young people must take on an enormous challenge.” Will this hundredth year be the end, or only the beginning?

Each character has a personality that brings his or her completely to life. Elettra is an adventurous kind of girl that always solves the hardest of mysteries. Chang is the kind of kid that will agree with just about anything. Minstrel is a shy girl that really has a lot to say once she gets to know you. Last but not least is Harvey who cares for the whole group but does not always show them his true feelings. From the book’s beginning to its end, it always has the twists and turns of a curled snake and yet the ending of a slow gentle slope. This charming story takes place at a hotel in Greece. The four characters meet each other for the very first time at this very place all because of an unorganized record keeper. Or was the mistake not a mistake at all. Either way they all met and while speaking discover that all of their birthdays are all on February 29th. At that moment, there was a bolt of hot red fire and a dark blackout formed throughout half of Greece. Exploring outside, we find our four characters on a bridge that crosses the River Tiber. But wait, what’s this! A weary man is running as fast as he can towards the children. He falls and asks for help but then discovers that there are four of them. He gives them his briefcase and says that he will come back to get it. The next day, the children find that that this strange man was murdered by a man named Jacob Mahler. They look into his briefcase to find an even bigger mystery. A tooth with a letter carved into it, decorated tops, and umbrella, and a wooden box. From what looked like junk at first takes the four kids all over Greece for a legendary object called The Ring of Fire. Will the kids be able to find this legendary object in time, or will it fall into the wrong hands? From explosions to collapses to kidnappings this book is sure to be a hit!

The Ring of Fire is an action packed thriller and mystery all in one. I have never in my life read a book quite like this one. This book has been one of only a few books to change my feelings throughout the whole story. The Ring of Fire has taught me that not everything in life is exactly what it may at first seem to be. There is not one part of this book that is disappointing. At first, I thought I had the whole story planned out. I was wrong. There is a major twist in the story that really got me hooked into this good read. My favorite part of this book was how P.D. Baccalario was able to have a book that balanced mystery as well as action while having a grand result. For example, he was able to make a mystery about The Ring of Fire while having the murderer Jacob Mahler chase the four kids all over Greece. One part of the book that I found to be most interesting was the center pages. As I was reading the book, I soon discovered that if you followed along with the middle pages as well as the regular page number, you would get more information on a clue of the mystery. For instance, on these center pages there are maps, keys, clues, etc. If you need a little more input of the many interesting objects or clues, all odds point to the center pages for your answer! I would judge The Ring of Fire to be appropriate for 5th to 8th grade readers because there are many uses of weapons that were intended to hurt someone (this may frighten very young readers). For a rating of five stars max, I rate this book all five stars because of its nonstop action and mysterious turns such as the explosion that Jacob Mahler created. This is the first of the four book series and in my opinion is headed to a great start! I plan to read each one as they come out to stores. Every nook and cranny of the book was detailed to its fullest. Whatever P.D Baccalario has up his sleeve for book two, I’m sure it will be phenomenal!

Review written by Brandon (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Ring of Fire Century Quartet Book I for this review.

Have you read Ring of Fire Century Quartet Book I? How would you rate it?


  1. Often mysteries aren't very thrilling and thrillers aren't very mysterious, but from your review, it seems this book is both: an action-packed thriller and mystery! And one with twists as well. Wow. Sounds like a good book, not only for kids, but adults too.

  2. Wow, Brandon. A another really good piece of writing as always. I think you did a good job with the book review. I wanted to get the book and now your review makes me want it even more!! I think that this book sounds exciting and once again good job!!!!!

  3. Adult Senior said...
    This is a very well articulated book review. It explains well the context, and story background of the book. It definately will draw me to read and enjoy the book.
    And possibly most of all, I am overwhelmed that a sixth grade student could prepare and present such a professional review. Brandon, if you read this comment, you are a very talented young man.