Contest Sticky

Friday, April 16, 2010

Review : Century : The Ring of Fire by P.D. Baccalario

Title : Century : The Ring of Fire
Author : P.D. Baccalario
Publisher : Random House Books For Young Readers
Genre : Fantasy - Young Adult
ISBN  : 978-0375858956
Series : Century Quartet #1
Release Date : September 22, 2009
Rating : 3.5/5 Stars - Good

Description from Amazon

Every hundred years, four kids from four cities must save the world.

Rome, December 29.

A mix-up with their reservations forces Harvey from New York, Mistral from Paris, and Sheng from Shanghai to share a room with the hotel owner’s daughter, Elettra. The four kids discover an amazing coincidence—they all have birthdays on February 29, Leap Day. That night, a strange man gives them a briefcase and asks them to take care of it until he returns. Soon afterward, the man is murdered.

The kids open the briefcase. In it they find a series of clues that take them all over Rome, through dusty libraries and dark catacombs, in search of the elusive Ring of Fire, an ancient object so powerful that legend says even a Roman emperor couldn’t control it.

In the first book of the Century quartet, Italian author P. D. Baccalario begins a mystery that will take four cities and four extraordinary kids to solve.


Elettra is the daughter of a hotel owner in Rome, and she has always done her part to help with anything the hotel needs.  When there is a mix-up with reservations, she offers to allow three children from different cities of the world to spend their time in her bedroom with her.  Their first night, they discover that not only do they now share a bedroom as their sleeping quarters, but the same birth date, February 29th, Leap Day.  It is a coincidence that shouldn't be looked over, and is the start of a fantastic adventure for these children.

Harvey is from New York, and he is probably the most logical of the children.  He's not the type to rush head first into a situation without thinking it over first, and to him, a coincidence is just that.  He has always been a quiet child, but an adventure in the city of Rome may be just what he needs to wake him up.

Mistral is from Paris, and she is an only child, living with her mother.  She's artistic and doesn't leave home without her sketch pad.  She is elegant, quiet, and never gets into any trouble.  She thinks that there may be something behind the coincidental birthday issue among her and her new found friends, and she's all for an adventure, even if it does sound scary.

Sheng is from the city of Shanghai, and he is by far the goofiest of the four children.  He is loud, and outspoken at times.  The prospect of an adventure only makes him more excited, but he also brings comedy to this novel.  I found myself looking forward to moments with Sheng, as he always seemed to make the best of things throughout their adventure. 

When reading this book, I had only really one complaint, and that was the point of view in which it was written.  I felt like it needed to be written in more of a first person view, rather than the third-person aspect that it was.  I would have enjoyed this story more if I were able to read it from the point-of-view of the children.  I think it would have given the book more feeling, especially during the times where they were faced with decisions that would induce great emotion.

I also have to admit that for a child, this book may seem a little scary at times, especially when the man that forces the briefcase on them is murdered.  I was a little shocked at the method of killing that the murderer used, as well as some of his other actions.  Personally my sister would be able to handle this, as she is mature for her age at 10, but I've noticed that some children aren't as lucky.

I'm more than willing to continue reading this story, and look forward to reading the second installment, Star of Stone, where their adventure will continue in the streets of New York.  It's scheduled to be released on September 28, 2010, according to Amazon.

Where did I get this book?

I received my copy from the publisher via Shelf Awareness.

Amazon Affiliates :

Clicking on title links of this book will redirect you to If you choose to purchase Century : The Ring of Fire after clicking on these links I will receive a small percentage of the profits.


Heather R. Holden said...

Great review! The premise sounds intriguing, so I'll most likely be checking this book out in the future. :)

Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf said...

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it, and hope you will give it a chance. Let me know what you think if you do happen to give it a shot.

brizmus said...

Such a cool premise. What a great review - I so totally want to read this book now!