There is a bit of an information drop. It's like, in parts of this book the reader gets way too much information about everything before finally getting back into the story. I think if the author would have just stuck with what the characters we were reading about were doing, instead of dropping information in about everyone around them too, the story could have been a bit more fluid.
I did, however, enjoy the plot of the story. These four extraordinary children decide to take the law into their own hands and investigate the stolen shrunken head from their museum - and the unexplained deaths that seemed to go along with it. They get into trouble along the way and meet some shady characters. But the ending seems to fit quite nicely with the story. Except for one part which might be cleared up in the second book.
Overall, this was a pretty great book. Once you get into the story, you get sucked up into the adventures.
The book is about, among other things: the strongest boy in the world, a talking cockatoo, a faulty mind reader, a beautiful bearded lady and a nervous magician, an old museum, and a shrunken head.
Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey's Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events.
When the museum's Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts. This sensational new series combines the unparalleled storytelling gifts of Lauren Oliver with the rich knowledge of the notorious relics collector H. C. Chester.
What you will find in this book:
A rather attractive bearded lady
Several scandalous murders
A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head
Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities
A quite loquacious talking bird
What you will NOT find in this book:
An accountant named Seymour
A never-ending line at the post office
Brussels sprouts (shudder)
A lecture on finishing all your homework on time
A sweet, gooey story for nice little girls and boys
Age Range: 8 - 12 years / Grade Level: 3 - 7