Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle, by George Hagen

Gabriel Finiley and the Ravens RiddleSummary:  How can 11-year-old Gabriel find his missing father, who seems to have vanished without a trace? With the help of Paladin—a young raven with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature—he flies to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face a series of difficult challenges and unanswerable riddles that could lead to his father . . . or to his death.

Random House

 

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6 thoughts on “Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle, by George Hagen

  1. I really thought this book was very well written and exciting. Basically, Gabriel’s family has the power to speak to ravens and “paravolate”, which is like they can take the forms of each other. Gabriel wants to save his father, who was locked up in Aviopolis, which is a city underground. Gabriel meets lots of new allies along the way, and some of them were really funny. Two of my favorite parts were that the ravens greeted each other with riddles, as did Gabriel and Paladin. My other favorite part is when the desk is alive and one of the characters names it “Deskie”. I thought that was really hilarious!! I can’t think of anything I’d have done differently, and I think this book could be a Newbery, because I think this really is distinguished!

  2. So far, this is my favorite book of the year. Outstanding. A wonderful fantasy story that has a quick-moving plot, characters to cherish, and plenty of riddles to tickle the mind. Over all of this we have the setting of an ordinary town as well as the creative creation of Aviopolis, world of the birds. Wonderful writing kept everything cohesive and well-paced. A remarkable achievement an author who is writing for youth for the first time.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with the comments. The combination of great characters, riddles, clever plot make it a great book!

  4. This book was intriguing for a few reasons, the most prominent being the riddles it contained. They were very clever and most were difficult to solve (a few easy ones were thrown in, but for reasons relevant to the story).
    Besides the riddles and overall writing style, my favorite part would have to be the setting. I could picture the underground city of birds, Aviopolis, in all its creepiness.
    My least favorite part of this book was the characters. Most of them were well written, but I thought Pamela’s personality was a little jumbled. She started out timid, then when she was jealous of Gabriel she had a very out-of-character outburst and for a while after that you hardly saw her at all. At one point in the story, it even seemed like she might be a traitor (she wasn’t).
    Overall, I did enjoy this book and I think it may be one to consider.

  5. This book was very unique and interesting considering the plot of flesh-eating ravens, amicuses (humans and ravens that bond), and riddles. It was very fun reading because of the riddles and how everything is creepy, but interesting. For example, Aviopolis sounded creepy with the prisons and valravens, but it makes you curious. The book was well written, had a unique plot, and a good setting. Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle will be one to think about!

  6. Like said above, Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle was a very unique book with a story line that was impossible not to be hooked by. However, the matter of actually connecting to the book was a different story for me. Like Olivia said, the characters were a big part of my inability to relate to the book but there were other minor aspects that added to it as well. The writing style fit the story overall and was easy to read. The excerpts in the perspective of Paladin the raven though, were written in way that didn’t seem as mysterious and flowing as the rest of the book, but more blocky and childish. The book is meant for more of a elementary and lower middle school audience, but even then I do not think the writing in the raven’s parts could be called distinguished.The one criteria that was truly distinguished to me was the setting. The whole story, not just the parts underground, had a relatively eerie feel and the setting was a big part of portraying this eeriness. My favorite scenes took place either in Gabriel’s very old mansion, the graveyard, or of course, Aviopolis. The other places they traveled seemed almost like unneeded page filler. As realistic as the setting made the story, the stereotypical characters didn’t seem to belong. Here’s four kids and an adult battling their way to through flesh eating ravens to defeat a demon/bird/man: you should be wondering how in the world they are going to accomplish it and what they would learn through it. Except, I already had it figured out that Pamela would finally be brave, Somes would find he was valued and trusted, Abby would be reaffirmed in her weirdness, the adult (forgot his name) would for the most part overcome his greed and deception, and Gabriel would find his father not to mention save the world. Also, this would all occur spontaneously within three or four pages. The reason the plot was so predictable was because the characters themselves were really predictable. It was almost as if the author was following an exact recipe for how to create the unsure girl, the bully, the weird girl, the traitor, and the selfless kid and how to develop them into all heroes. This wouldn’t have mattered if you wanted this book simply as an exciting read, however when comparing it to others for most distinguished I find it hard to overlook the flat and stereotypical characters and focus only on the vivid setting and funny riddles. Personally, I didn’t think that the riddles and setting alone are enough to win this book the Newbery Award. I compared this book to the Night Gardener which is similar mostly because of the targeted audience and creepy genre. The Night Gardener is actually one of my favorites and I believe, more distinguished then this one. However, Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle would be at the top of my recommendation list for fifth and sixth graders wanting a very clever and exciting book.

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