Fourteen-year-old Durriken Brishen has lost his parents, his grandfather, and though he doesn't know it, his Gypsy culture's dangerous gift.
Taken in and raised on the rails by the first woman to pilot a freight train, Durriken has one remaining connection to his Romani roots: a small wooden box that hangs from the hammer loop of his overalls.
The last gift he received from his grandfather, the box contains the world's first chess set. But a piece is missing: the Red Queen. According to Durriken’s family lore, the complete set awakens the power of Tărie, a mercurial gift that confers unique abilities on each new Master.
When a suspicious fire erupts in the Chicago rail yard, Durriken's escape produces an uneasy alliance, though not without its silver lining. Dilia is a few inches taller, several degrees cleverer, and oh yes – very pretty. While Durriken is uneasy allying with a girl whose parents were convicted of sedition, there's no doubt she is a powerful partner. And while it's not immediately clear to either, her own Guatemalan culture and family history are deeply entwined with the ancient Romani mystery.
Jumping box cars, escaping riverboats, deciphering clues, crossing swords with the brilliant madman Radu Pinch – with great American cities as its backdrop – Gypsy Knights is the page-turning saga of Durriken Brishen and his quest to rediscover his past.
Hi Laurie! Thanks so much for inviting us (Rhett and Lafe, aka Two Brothers Metz) to share your blog!
We thought it might be fun to put together a little top ten list: Our Top Ten Favorite YA Books. Our book – Gypsy Knights – was very much influenced by these books and authors. Of course these lists are incredibly difficult to decide on, but the debate is half the fun :) So, from tenth to first, here are our favorites. Hope you enjoy!
10. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis. This book occasionally get’s criticized for being too religious. While it’s true that it touches on many biblical themes, it would be a shame to let this aspect deter from enjoyment.
As a kid, the Christianity overtones were totally lost on me. Instead, my takeaways were an incredible sense of the magic the world is built on; the importance of friendship and loyalty; the challenges of having siblings; and, oh yeah, it’s also a fast paced story with memorable characters!
9. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. Call us old school. And yes, the first time we read this book was the 9th grade – a tradition we hope America continues. It is one of the most touching discussions of racial inequality we’ve ever read, and while the power of the currently popular dystopian fantasies isn’t lost on us, this Southern Gothic classic has many of the same thematic elements with its Great Depression vibes and serious social commentary.
8. Holes, Louis Sachar. Brilliant. Hilarious. Timeless. Need we say more?
7. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. Wow. This one is so gutsy. We’ve often considered trotting out some darker content – but she really took it to a new place. We were turning pages so fast our fingers bled.
6. House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer. Lafe is ready to kill me (Rhett) for putting this out of the top five. Let’s face it, drug lords and YA don’t go hand in hand. Throw in some cloning and a dash of sheer terror and voila! – you have an amazing read.
5. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. We’re getting down to the really tough choices now. Here’s how we see it. Liesel Meminger, possibly the best drawn character in YA history. Death is the narrator. Let me repeat that – DEATH is the narrator. How cool is that? The backdrop is WWII Germany, and Liesel’s tale is heartbreaking for our generation, i.e., those whose grandparents were in WWII. Great stuff.
4. The Giver, Louis Lowry. We can’t write about this one. Just too sad. Great book though.
3. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer. We’re guys, yes, but, we get it. Very cool series; enough so to make us enjoy pure romance. Meyer reinvigorated vampire lore, and even if it pains us to admit that vampires glimmering in the sun is a cool idea, you’ve got to give her credit for bringing vampires and monsters back from the dead… so to speak.
2. Danny The Champion of the World, Roald Dahl. This book is the most underrated YA book of all time – and one of the absolute best. It is hilarious, touching, and brilliantly plotted. I fear it may be lost in the annals of YA history, but I can’t recommend it highly enough for the uninitiated.
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling. The best loved YA series of all time. The book in which Rowling hits her stride, and is full control of all elements of the story. In our lifetimes, we will not see its equal.
Two Brothers Metz Bio:The Two Brothers Metz are happily settled in the rolling valleys of Western Pennsylvania – where they are hard at work on the second installment of The Gypsy Knights Saga.
Disclaimer: This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. In some cases, I receive free books in return for a review. My reviews always express my own personal opinion. I am not obligated to write a glowing or even favorable review. I have not received any monetary compensation in return for my honest review. Promotional banners and information was provided through Bewitching Book Tours. I am an authorized Tour Host.
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