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Hagen, George.
New York : Scwartz & Wade, 2014
IL 3-6, RL 4.8
ISBN 0385371039

(4 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews

Booktalk #1

Ravens love riddles. This is the way they can tell the good ravens from the bad. Long ago, ravens were our best friends…they watched over us and conversed with us easily. That was before a phantom raven named Corax went rogue and lured some others to the dark side. His new disciples were called valravens…

Gabriel Finley knew little about ravens, but was soon to learn a good deal more. When he rescued an orphaned baby raven named Paladin, he discovered his family’s long-kept secret: the Finelys had a special bond with these birds…they could talk with them, receive their protection, and even briefly blend into the bodies of their familiars for adventures in flight.

Gabriel loved riddles…his father had been a master of riddles right up until the day he disappeared. Aunt Jaz seemed to know a lot more than she was telling about his dad’s current whereabouts. With the help of Paladin and a very reluctant writing desk, he just might be able to rescue his dad from the clutches of the evil Corax.

From Brooklyn to Aviopolis, a thrilling adventure, indeed!  (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #2

George Hagen sets the tone for his exciting middle grade fantasy novel with the dedication, the first of many riddles you will have the pleasure of solving throughout the book. Gabriel loves riddles, as did his father before him and, as it turns out, so do ravens! On his twelfth birthday, with the astounding information from his father’s diary racing through his head and the special key his dad left for him for this very day, Gabriel begins to realize that the time has come for him to search for his father, missing now for three years. After rescuing a baby raven Gabriel begins this new phase of his young life – one in which he can paravolate with the bird and will begin a huge adventure. With a mismatched set of new friends at his side, Gabriel leaves his Brooklyn brownstone for Aviopolis, an underground world where he hopes to find his father and his uncle Corax, who has become more monster than man. “You’ll always see me first in a running race, third in a marathon, fourth in a tear, but never in a dash! Who am I?”    (Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award DCF 2015 - 2016)

Booktalk #3

Twelve-year-old Gabriel Finley must accomplish a monstrous task. To do so, he will have to overcome daunting obstacles, including: a tangle of ingenious riddles, a spiteful necklace called a torc, and flocks of evil valravens. Young Finley is not completely unprepared for his quest. His father, Adam Finley, prepared Gabriel by telling him a riddle every day until the day he vanished three years ago. Nor will he face these obstacles alone. He rescues an orphaned young raven named Paladin, and discovers that he has the power (as did his father) of bonding with him. This bond allows them to share thoughts, speak aloud to one another, and even merge with the raven to fly. Paladin, an adventurer named Septimus and three heroic friends accompany Gabriel on his quest to find the torc and bring his father home. The intrepid band’s journey will take them from the heights of New York City to the depths of Aviopolis. This book is a fantasy adventure filled with unforgettable characters, challenging riddles, and magic around every corner. (Prepared by: Leslie Cooper, Stiles Point Elementary,,  South Carolina Book Awards, 2017)

Booktalk #4

When Gabriel rescues a baby raven, he discovers people in his family can bond with ravens in fantastic ways. He goes on a quest with three brave friends and his raven to try to rescue his missing father, solving riddles and avoiding flocks of vicious birds along the way. (Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award nominee, 2018)

SUBJECTS:    Voyages and travels -- Fiction.
                        Magic -- Fiction.
                        Missing persons -- Fiction.
                        Ravens == Fiction.
                        Adventure and adventurers -- Fiction.
                        Fantasy fiction.
                        Adventure fiction.

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