by M.T. Anderson

Scholastic, $6.99, 324 pages

An alien race called the Thusser is invading Earth and displacing humans and the people of Norumbega, an ancient underground civilization. Once upon a time, an intricate game was set up to determine the ruling class. Innocent kids are picked to play for each side. The best out of 20 rounds wins Earth. Best friends Brian and Gregory played the game and won the 19th round for the Norumbegans. But now the Thusser are ignoring the rules of the game and humankind is in jeopardy. Brian and Gregory are off on another action packed magical adventure in The Empire of Gut and Bone, M.T. Anderson’s third installment in The Norumbegan Quartet series.

It’s best to read this series from the beginning to fully grasp the importance of “the game” and to witness full character development. Anderson’s writing is well crafted and the interaction between characters is often hilarious. Creepy monsters and rebellious robots follow Brian and Gregory’s every move. There is a great balance of dialogue and description. Readers will be surprised with each new page because Anderson’s ideas are so unique. This series is guaranteed to become a family favorite. Watch for the fourth book and the continuation of the adventure!

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin