Friday, January 16, 2015
Book Review: Unleashed
Unleashed: A Swindle Mystery
By Gordon Korman
Reviewed from NetGalley
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
An invention contest, government conspiracies, and giant doberman make up the main plot points in this Swindle mystery. Luthor the reformed guard dog has started hunting down the exterminator's van, so Melissa, the tech genius that she is, creates an invention to humanely, even by Savannah's strict standards, correct his behavior. However, this invention is stolen before the contest, and now Melissa won't leave her home, and for that matter, Luthor can't either without terrorizing the neighborhood. The gang sets their sights on their grumpy new neighbor, but there might be a bigger plot afoot. Leave it to this band of misfits to figure it out!
I'm hard on the Swindle series sometimes, but I keep reading them. It's a love-dislike thing. The books are still quite entertaining, and I have to say that envisioning a middle-aged man strapped to a desk chair trying to escape a top secret government lab is quite funny. (You'll understand when you read it). There is a common narrative arc of problem arises, Griffin formulates a plan, Griffin formulates a new plan (because it never works the first time), hilarious chaos ensues, problem-solved, everyone grounded for a week or two, run credits.
It's a formula that works. Unleashed, like it's predecessors, is funny and readable. It's a great book for a somewhat reluctant reader, and great for animal lovers. It would also make a good classroom read aloud because of all the action and great cliff-hangers toward the end of each chapter.
Keep 'em coming, Mr. Korman!