By: N.D. Wilson
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: August 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 31, 2011
Drivers can see the Archer Motel from the highway as they pass by. Out in front stands the glistening goddess - the female archer with her bow at the ready, pointing her arrow up into the hot, hazy sky. The Archer Motel was once a beautiful structure when it first opened, but now the yellow paint is chipped, the pool is rusted and not fit for a dead cat to swim in, and Cyrus, Antigone, and Daniel Smith live inside the structure, trying their best to keep it up and running in order to support themselves.
Cyrus and Antigone are the young ones, whereas their older brother Daniel has all the responsibility thrust on his shoulders. Their mother sits in a hospital bed, completely silent, and their father died long ago. Cyrus is tired of his world at times. Coming home from his last day of school, all he can really think about is how hot the day is, and how he is so tired of living the way they’re living. He also doesn’t like the fact that he has to make the daily 'waffle' for the old lady who lives in one of the Archer Motel’s rooms. But he’s stuck. Daniel and Antigone have disappeared and Cyrus is the only one available to help. What Cyrus doesn’t expect as the huge storm erupts over their heads, is for the old lady to appear on her porch with a shotgun and fire at the odd-looking man standing in the parking lot.
Cyrus is petrified. He has no idea what’s going on, or why the old lady he’s known for ages suddenly announces that it has been her job to protect him from the man who is covered in tattoos and is demanding that he be let into Rom 111- the room that belongs to Cyrus and holds all of his dad’s old papers.
The action happens so fast that in the blink of an eye a mystery is unveiled to young Cyrus, and he and his sister end up taking a vow to be the next ones in line to bear the burden of what this old man - calling himself Billy Bones - has carried for decades.
From the motel burning to the ground, to their older brother Daniel being kidnapped, Cyrus and Antigone find themselves in a place called Ashtown, meeting a group of explorers who are the caretaker’s of the world’s darkest secrets. Cyrus and Antigone are soon immersed in this world, witnessing powerful relics from lost civilizations, meeting unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world, and a man named Maxi who is determined to take something from Cyrus so that he can rule the world with darkness.
Quill Says: This is an extraordinarily fantastic novel that hooks readers from the very beginning and never lets up! A perfect start to what is sure to be a perfect series!