Today I will explore 2 of this year's nominations for the Bluebonnet award: House of Atherton and Gabriel's Horses. Having read a wonderful fantasy by author Patrick Carman, I had high hopes for House of Atherton. I was, however, quite disappointed with it by the end. Which was basically mostly due to the end. Like right in the middle of an admittedly lengthy climax, it was just like...to be continued! Didn't we all learn from Harry Potter that fantasy fans do not shy away from long novels? Argh. Just a cheap publicity ploy if you ask me. Have I said nothing about the plot? My bad. It's really a great idea. The Planet of Atherton, created by a mad scientist, orbits the Earth without knowledge of its existence-for the most part. Our young male protagonist discovers the secret dooming life on planet the planet and undertakes an dangerous journey to see what can be done. Interesting premise. I'm just mad that I would have to read the next book to see what happens. One cool feature that I did not even bother exploring in my rebellious rage was the accompanying cd which implies unlocking the secrets of the planet.
Another purported series on the list is Gabriel's Horses. Set in Kentucky during the Civil War, this novel is vastly different. It is truly difficult to make comparisons. Both novels do feature a male pre-teen hero, but Gabriel is a slave. He is lucky though to have a free father who works for a wealthy Brit who values his skills with the thoroughbred horses he races. When his father joins the Union army, Gabriel must take his father's place in some areas while submitting to a cruel new horse trainer. He proves what he is made of when a Rebel band comes to thieve their horses and Gabriel saves them with his quick thinking. Unlike House of Atherron, this novel does tie up nicely. I think it has a chance at winning.