Paladin’s War (Book #3) by Peter Greene

Paladin’s War
(Book #3)
Peter Greene

“1802. Midshipman Jonathan Moore, Marine Private Sean Flagon and adventurer Delain Dowdeswell enjoy the company of family and friends during a delicate peace between France and England. However, mysterious spy networks now freely roam Europe’s great cities, and the ships and armies of all nations remain on the edge of war. An elaborate scheme involves manipulating Jonathan, now aboard the eighteen-gun HMS Paladin, the Royal Navy’s fastest ship. Commanded by his friend and mentor, Lieutenant Thomas Harrison, their mission is to deliver an important treaty to a clandestine location. Remaining in London and bored with endless tea parties and tedious school lessons, Delain encounters a shadowy black rider sneaking about the mansions of London’s elite. Suspecting foul play, she investigates and enters a web of secret meetings, spies, coded messages and kidnapping. At first merely interesting, Delain’s investigation soon turns deadly as she finds that all clues lead to the Paladin’s mission and to her friends, now thousands of miles away and in grave danger. Once at sea, the boys are pursued by their sister ship HMS Echo, though she avoids all direct contact. A sabotaged gun, a mistrusted crew, and a vicious assault on their ship by a well-armed band of assailants has the crew and officers of the Paladin anxious. Even Jonathan is uneasy, forced by agents of the king to withhold vital information from his officers. Led to waters far from home, the boys now fight for their ship and their lives against a rogue naval commodore with a war plan of his own.”
My Review:
I have loved the Jonathan Moore books from the very beginning! They are so fun. In this fantasy-heavy Harry Potter world we live in, it’s so refreshing to read something so different and so not fantasy. (And this coming from a fantasy fan!) My boys have loved these books as well. My boys are now 15 and 14, and it was my 14 year-old that actually looked on amazon to see if Mr. Greene had published the next book in the series. When he found out that there was another book he begged me to contact Mr. Greene to see if he needed reviews. Lucky for us he did. Usually I let the authors contact me, but this time we may have been a little excited. That gives you an idea of how much my boys have liked these books. All my favorite characters were back for this new adventure. Of course Jonathan and Sean were there, along with Delain and Miss Barbara Thompson. Some of the Paladin’s crew members were also familiar characters. Mr. Greene relayed to me beforehand that this book is a little darker than the other two, and he was correct. He said the idea is that the first and second books are more for middle graders, and this book is better for early YA. I’m not sure why he did it that way because now the younger readers get all excited about the first books, but should not read the last book until they’re older. However, that’s the way he set it up. This book does have a little more profanity in it, and it’s darker in that more characters die, and the violence is a little more graphic. It’s a little deeper too. It’s not just fighting pirates; there’s a more hidden and harder to decipher plot line. My boys and I all enjoyed it, but didn’t think the darker format was needed. We all agreed that we were glad we read it, but it wasn’t our favorite book in the series. There’s plenty of Jonathan Moore action, suspense, adventure, and ingenuity. I liked Delain’s role, and although the role Jonathan was asked to play made me squirm a bit, he did figure it out eventually. The book is well written, but there are still a few grammatical errors. If you enjoyed the first two books you will definitely want to read this one!
*As a side note, when I read the first book it was titled Skull Eye Island, but that title has now been changed to Warship Poseidon
Rating: PG + (There are a few profane words, a brief kiss, and quite a bit of violence. The violence is a bit more graphic and descriptive than it is in the first two books; a few characters die.
Recommendation: 6th to 7th grade and up. (If your middle grader has read the whole Harry Potter series–and been ok with it–, then he or she would do okay with this book. It is about the same level as the last couple of Harry Potter books.)
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Castle of Fire

Castle of Fire (Adventures of Jonathan Moore Book #2) by Peter Greene
“The once-orphaned Jonathan Moore is now reunited with his father, though soon leaves the comfort of family and London on what is considered by all to be a ‘peach’ of a mission. However, with the arrival of another midshipman holding a severe but unexplained grudge, life aboard the HMS Danielle is anything but pleasant. Why are the new midshipmen his enemies? Who is stealing food from the ship’s stores, and why must Jonathan and Sean sneak into a heavily guarded Spanish fort in the middle of the night to do some burglary of their own? In the second book of the Adventures of Jonathan Moore Series, Jonathan must capture a stolen British ship from blood-thirsty pirates, solve the mystery of the surprising stowaway, and defend his honor and his life during a fierce duel to the death with a murderous adversary. Alone and vastly outnumbered, the crew of the Danielle engages in a violent battle on the wild seas south of the farthest tip of Africa. Only Jonathan, Sean, and an unexpected guest can turn the tide of the struggle by unlocking the secret of a mysterious island and re-igniting the ferocious power of the Castle of Fire!
I loved the first book in this series, Skull Eye Island, and my boys did too. Since I received the second book, a long time ago, my boys have asked me many times if I have read it yet. Well, I finally got to read it! Good ol’ Jonathan is back at it, with his trusty friend Sean. The characters are the same, with the exception of a few more. The characters in this book are so fun. I love their personalities and their relationships. There are a few grumpy old (and young) sailors, and even a few happy ones have their moments of temper, but they each have their place on the ship, and each makes for a great story. There is a lot of action in this book, as there was in the first book. There’s sword fighting, pirates, cannons, stealing pirate ships, a little romance, a stowaway, friendship, and much more. 
I didn’t love this book as much as I did the first, unfortunately. I thought it started slowly and didn’t really get into the story or the action until half-way through the book. I was disappointed. However, the end of the book was great and got back into the adventure and the fun of the first book. The ending made reading this book worth it. There were a lot of grammatical and spelling errors in this book, which drove me crazy. I hope there is another edition out that has fixed all the errors, but I’m not sure if there is. This book is clean, though, and that is fantastic! I love it when I can hand a child a book and not worry at all about questionable words or content. If you liked the first book in the series then you should read this one. Push through the beginning and you’ll love the ending. 
Rating: PG (Fighting pirates, sword fighting, a few minor characters die)
Recommendation: 9 years old (Fourth Grade-ish) and up. My boys read Harry Potter in third grade and Fablehaven in second grade. If that is the case then this book would be fine for third graders. It’s no worse than Harry Potter. There are some sailing terms they may not understand, but that is a quick (google) fix. 
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Skull Eye Island

Skull Eye Island by Peter Greene

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Homeless and alone on the streets of London in 1800, twelve-year-old Jonathan Moore survives this harsh and dangerous world using courage, intelligence and determination. His dismal fate changes dramatically one day after he is abducted by a gang and pressed into service aboard the HMS Poseidon, a forty-four gun fighting frigate of the British Royal Navy. However, there is more to the event than just a change of address. How is it that some members of the crew, including the Captain, already know his name? Why do the officers seem to favor him above the other new crewmembers? As Jonathan endeavors to solve these mysteries, he is thrust into a daring mission to recover a hidden treasure on a remote Caribbean isle. Unfortunately, the crew and officers of the Poseidon are not the only ones searching for the prize. In a desperate race across the Atlantic to Skull Eye Island, Jonathan is pitted against sword-wielding spies, engages in terrifying ship-to-ship battles and in the end, must match his wits and courage against a ruthless and cunning French Captain and his powerful warship.”

I loved this book! It is written very well, and I really liked Mr. Greene’s writing style. It just pulled me in from the beginning, and I couldn’t put it down. I could picture myself on the ship, in the Captain’s quarters, on the island, and in France walking to the apothecary shop. I love it when I can become a part of the story; that is why I read! Mr. Greene’s character development is really good. I did have a hard time keeping track of some of the crew members at first, but figured it out in the end. I especially liked Jonathan and Sean, the Captain, and Mr. Harrison. Some of the other crew members were grumpy old sailors, but they all had some good moments. The story is well written and exciting. There is action, sword-fighting, storms, mystery, and treasure! What more could you want? Oh, romance? Well, there might be a paragraph or two on that as well. Remember, Jonathan is only 12 years-old, so hopefully there’s not too much romance. I really don’t know anything about ships, so some of the jargon was difficult at first, but I think I got it down by the end. That is another reason I enjoy reading; I love to learn about different things, on my couch, in my p.j.’s. It’s great!

And what is something I love? It is clean!! Yes, that makes me very happy. You can have a wonderful story without the language and other questionable material. There is some sword-fighting and a few characters die, but it is a war, and the descriptions are not in-depth or gruesome. I highly recommend this book, and can’t wait for my boys to read it. I think they will really enjoy it as well.

Rating: PG (Some sword-fighting, ships shooting each other, and a few minor characters die)

Recommendation: 9 years-old (4th Grade-ish) up. This would be a fun read-aloud as well as a great silent read.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.