Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Nick & Tesla #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Mystery and characters plus gadgets to build later
Cons: None worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Twins building robots
Hunting the comic book thief
Create fun sequel

Robots and Comic Books

Since I enjoyed the first book in the Nick and Tesla series, I jumped at a chance to review the second, Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage.  It is an improvement on the first and is sure to entertain the target middle grade audience.

The series is about science minded 11-year-old twins who are sent to live with the mad scientist uncle they don’t really know for the summer.  They’ve just been there a few weeks, and already they’ve found themselves involved in two mysteries.  Along with the mystery, there are detailed instructions for gadgets and experiments you can build yourself when you’re done reading.

Just when Nick and Tesla thought their summer might turn restful, their friend Silas has a crisis.  His dad runs Hero Worship, Inc., a comic book store in town, and he’s just scored a rare comic book that will save the struggling business.  However, it was stolen.  Can these twins use their gadget making ability to find the book and save the store?

I complained with the first book that there was a bit too much set up before the mystery got going.  I thought this book might be falling into the same trap, but it turned out all that stuff played a part in the story.  And once the mystery was introduced, it was the focus of the book.  I thought I had things figured out early on, but I turned out to be wrong.

The characters grow in this book as well.  They are still a bit weak, but they are perfect for the middle grade audience.  And there is just enough layers to them to keep adults interested as well.

Things are served with a healthy dose of humor, whether it is in the narration (told at various times from either Nick or Tesla’s limited third person point of view) or the dialogue of the characters.  I laughed several times as things progressed and grinned many other times.

As you might guess from the title, this time around the experiments feature simple robots built with small batteries and motors.  They sound like fun, especially the hoverbot, and I’m tempted to try my hand at building one myself.  Oh, and be sure to check out the build it yourself super soaker at the end.

Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage will entertain the intended middle grade audience, and I must admit I’m getting hooked on the series as well.

If you are hooked on the series, too, you'll want to check out Nick and Tesla's Science Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I got this book via Amazon’s vine program

This is my entry in this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Follow the link for other entries.

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