Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Ear, the Eye, and The Arm

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

The year is 2194, and Tendai, his brother, and his sister--the children of Zimbabwe's chief of security--have escaped from their father's estate to explore the dangerous city of Harare. When they disappear, the children's parents call in Africa's most unusual detectives--the Ear, the Eye and the Arm--who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely.

Though I'd heard good things about The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (it's a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults pick), I only just got around to reading it for the the first time. I thought it was a very good book, I enjoyed it very much and I'd definitely give a copy to a young person in my life, but I have to admit that I wasn't blown away by it. I've read quite a few books set in futuristic Africa in the past few years so that aspect of it the story wasn't particularly novel (for me). The story itself was interesting, especially the fact that while the children sneak out longing to experience and explore the world that their parents inhabit, they get much more than they bargained for as they are forced to encounter both the seedy underbelly of their city and a spiritual realm. I also like how Farmer incorporated a traditionalist community into her future world. I guess my problem--if I could put a finger on it--is that I never for a second doubted that the children would make it home safely.

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