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Rivers of Fire: The Second Book of Atherton    by Patrick Carman Amazon.com order for
Rivers of Fire
by Patrick Carman
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Patrick Carman's ingenious world of Atherton comes once again to vivid life in this second book in the trilogy, Rivers of Fire. Even though it picks up immediately where The House of Power left off, Carman starts the book with a preface explaining events up until now as well as the main characters, something extremely helpful for new readers or ones who had not read the first book in a while.

The world of Atherton has now become flat, but it has not finished changing. Edgar, Dr. Kincaid, and Vincent must head to the Highlands to find the lost Dr. Harding if the people of Atherton are to survive the coming changes. Edgar's friends, Samuel and Isabel, are already hiding in the Highlands looking for the water source that has been turned off. However, unbeknownst to all but Dr. Kincaid, the Highlands are sinking. When this fact is discovered, the people of the Highlands flee and set up the Village of Horses on Tabletop. Lord Phineas, slowly going mad, refuses to leave and Samuel and Isabel follow him to the water source in Mead's Hollow. Edgar, Dr. Kincaid, and Vincent arrive there at roughly the same time, but no one has a moment to spare for reunions. The water is rising as the Highlands sink and Edgar must warn the others that is, if any of them can get out from inside Atherton.

Rivers of Fire is a page-turning adventure, with action from start to finish. Carman continues to develop the world of Atherton, further explaining how it works. Also, we're filled in on Edgar's backstory, making him an even more endearing hero. Unlike some YA science fiction adventures, Rivers of Fire is not all bright and happy. In fact, a lot of it is dark and some spots are rather sad. However, this makes it believable, which helps the reader to get lost in the story. The only drawback to this episode is at the very end. Even though it is the second in a trilogy, it has a very definite conclusion, making it seem like the story of Atherton is finished.

Rivers of Fire is a perfect YA sci-fi adventure with great characters, a suspenseful plot, and a very unique world. Patrick Carman's Atherton is a trilogy that deserves attention.

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