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Walker Books for Young Readers – April 29, 2008

Someone created a deadly virus.

Someone let it loose on their enemy.

Someone didn’t realize how powerful it was.

The creators didn’t know that the virus would spread and kill everyone in its path. Including themselves.  The virus killed everyone except for the children.

On a day like any other, families made their way to the Isles of Wonder. The Isles of Wonder is a gigantic theme park consisting of five islands, each specializing in a certain type of entertainment.  The kids that showed up on this particular day didn’t realize they would have to call it home after their parents and older siblings dropped dead in the middle of the park without warning.

Josh, along with his sister Maddie, are just two of the thousands of children left wandering the islands alone after the catastrophe.  It takes a couple of days for them to snap out of the shock of losing their parents and older sister, but when a voice booms from the top of the Palace calling everyone to listen, Josh and Maddie go to listen to what the speaker has to say. 

Milo, whose father used to be in charge of the sound system at the Isle of Wonder decides it’s time to get people organized.  Taking on the persona of King Neptune, he attempts to enlist vounteers to serve as a committee to make decisions for the larger group.  Soon, children are pulling together to dispose of the dead bodies, take care of the children that are too young to care for themselves, and make sure there is enough food and supplies to last them a long time.

Everything seems to be working.  People are getting along, no one is going hungry, and kids are working themselves into a comfortable rhythm of day to day tasks.  But, the question that many people have is, “What is outside the park?”  When Josh and his friend Zoe witness lights in the distance, they decide to tell Milo, hoping he’ll put together a scouting party to see if there is anyone else alive. 

Can everything stay perfect in their fairy tale world?  Will King Neptune allow people to leave the Isle of Wonder?  How far will people go to remain in power?

NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN is a fascinating page-turner.  The author creates a relatively safe world for the setting.  The children never face hunger, lack supplies, or have to deal with harsh weather.  The story relys on the interactions between the characters.  Josh, the main character, isn’t always in the core group of decision makers, so the reader has to suffer right along with him when he doesn’t know what is going on around the park.

NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN would be a good suggestion for someone who enjoyed GONE by Michael Grant.  There are many similarities.  GONE is just categorized as a fantasy and involves supernatural elements whereas NEPTUNE’S CHILDREN does not.  This is a great choice for anyone that enjoys the post-apocalyptic/survival genre.

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Neptune’s Children

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