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Month in review

Reviews
The Amazing World of Gumball Vol. 1: Fairy Tale Trouble by Ben Bocquelet
The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene
Demon Book 1 by Jason Shiga
The Dragon That Lived Under Manhattan by E.W. Hildick
The Drowning Spool by Monica Ferris
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Ghostbusters International by Erik Burnham
Graveyard Slot by Michelle Schusterman
Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 by Ed Piskor
How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora
Imagine a World by Rob Gonsalves
It's a Tiger by David La Rochelle
Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown
The Lost Compass by Joel N. Ross
The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell
Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
The Soprano's Last Song by Irene Adler
Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
The Underdogs by Sara Hammel

Miscellaneous
November reading and looking towards the last month
Reading goals for 2017

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Lost Compass: 11/27/16

The Lost Compass by Joel N. Ross

The Lost Compass by Joel N. Ross is the sequel to The Fog Diver. Chess and his crew mates have found a safe haven in Port Oro. All that's threatened though with Kodoc closing in on the compass that controls the Fog.

Port Oro is built in the mountains near an abandoned city — one big enough that their town is built (in part) on the top stories of old skyscrapers. Nearby in the city is the map that leads to the compass but it's down in the depths of a subway and no tether kid has survived to bring the location back. Now it's Chess's chance to go after the map.

In my review of The Fog Diver I suggested that Kodoc's domain is in the mountains near Santa Barbara based on the description and the author's location. Part of the logic of that was the ubiquitous fog, nicknamed "Phil's Fog Monster." What better place to inspire a tale of evil, nanobot driven fog?

Chess's time in the fog city is described with enough detail to paint a very distinct mental picture. Since finishing the book I've been puzzling over where the clues led. In California there aren't many subways. In fact there are two: the Los Angeles Metro and Bay Area Rapid Transit.

BART primarily goes for 1970s kitsch and I've never seen a city map as an art installation in any of the stations. Also, BART primarily runs through the valleys and while there are mountains most aren't as tall as the ones near Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, with a longer history of rail (although it did tear most of it out in the 1960s, only to put it back in the 1990s-2000s). Los Angeles also has a long history of public art installations and all of their stations are themed and decorated. A little online searching and I found Chess's map at the 1st and Soto station on the Gold Line. Gold in Spanish is oro. The map mural was conceived by Nobuho Nagasawa and implemented by Michael Ballard.

And what's due north of that Gold Line station? The Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It all fits.

These meandering thoughts — this obsession on tracking down Chess's quest show how much fun I had reading The Lost Compass. Although Chess's quest is successful, there's still a whole world left to explore and perhaps more fog to vanquish. I don't know if there are any more books planned in this series — these two are a tight and complete narrative. But I would welcome a chance to explore other parts of the world. Or read a prequel.

If not — I look forward to whatever the next adventure is.

Five stars

Comments (4)


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Comment #1: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 21:08:14

Michael Ballard

Hello,

I found out about this site through a site referral to my own site. I did wish to make a correction about the map mural. Nobuho Nagasawa created the artwork at that subway station. I merely supplied the map that was used for the artwork. She deserves the credit for it being there and how it was used.

Thank you,

Michael Ballard



Comment #2: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 18:39:00

Pussreboots

Thank you for the clarification. Sorry for any confusion my enthusiastic book review may have caused.

Comment #3: Saturday, January, 21, 2017 at 17:24:20

Michael Ballard

After seeing this review, I recently purchased a copy of the book. It just came in the mail today and I am very excited about reading it. Thank you for the referral!



Comment #4: Saturday, January, 21, 2017 at 15:15:27

Pussreboots

How exciting. Thank you for letting me know.