Monday, December 22, 2008

Bone #2-3 by Jeff Smith

The Great Cow Race (Book #2)

The Spring Fair brings people from far and wide to Barrelhaven, especially for the highly anticipated, and highly wagered, cow races. Gran’ma Ben is the undefeated champion racer. While staying in Barrelhaven, Thorn has another dream that seems to reflect the past – a young girl, a departing loved one, a cave of dragons.

Phoney Bone is plotting his next get rich scheme. By building up a “mystery cow” in the upcoming cow races and spreading the rumor that Gran’ma Ben has lost a step, Phoney plans to clean up on the subsequent wagering. After a near disaster at the Spring Fair, Lucius Down, proprietor of the Barrelhaven Tavern, a burly man who has known Gran’ma Ben for some time, ends up back at Gran’ma Ben’s farm with her, Thorn, and the three Bone cousins.

Eyes of the Storm (Book #3)

Thorn’s mysterious dreams continue, with a now-speaking dragon, a princess, and an ominous hooded figure, and now Fone Bone has started having dreams of his own. Lucius, Smiley, and Phoney head back to Barrelhaven to run the tavern. When Gran’ma Ben hears Fone Bone and Thorn discussing their dreams, she sets off in a fury to confront the red dragon. Wanting to know the reason behind her outrage and why the red dragon is connected to their dreams, Thorn and Fone Bone follow her out into the storm. A mid-storm confrontation with a hoard of rat creatures is avoided when the red dragon Gran’ma Ben was off to meet intervenes. After returning safely home, readers are treated to a history lesson from Gran’ma Ben about a princess, the former kings and queens of Atheia, the Big War, and how all the current signs point to another war.

Eyes of the Storm is where readers learn there is much more to Bone than cute little displaced cousins and a host of well-constucted, strong-willed characters. There is an entire history of the Kingdom of Atheia, the valley, the warring factions, and the lingering ill will between them. Readers won’t learn more until later books, but at the end of Book #3, Gran’ma Ben informs Thorn and Fone Bone that the “situation down south has changed,” a hooded person is “gathering an army in the eastern mountains,” and “large numbers of rat creatures are headed this way.” No, readers don't get too many details about the valley's political situation, but readers do get plenty of incentive to continue reading.

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