Archibald Lox and the Rubicon Dictate by Darren Shan

What a groptastic roller coaster of a ride! Book 6 of Darren Shan’s newest series picks up at the grop tournament (a type of hyper-violent rugby) in Ruby where plans are made and foiled. Before Hugo, Inez, and Archie can kidnap Hiroto, he’s kidnapped by our two favorite assassins Orlan and Argate. What are two enterprising problem solvers and a few loyal family members going to do? Kidnap Dante, a prince from Ruby.

Filled with twists and turns that leave the reader on the edge of their seat until Inez and Archie return to the station. Debts are still owed to some, paid to others, and nearly everyone is left in a better position than when the book started. It was sad to see one character break away, but another was set free, balancing the scoreboard until everything comes crashing down in the next books.

The overwhelming theme, freedom of choice, is clear from the first page to the last, and it’s one that is explored with perfect clarity from a young person’s perspective. Influencing others is not freedom of choice. It robs them of their freedom. I know that Archie will face many challenges (including remembering to keep his mouth shut about what he’s been up to if he wants to avoid a very painful death) as he returns to the Born and his old life, but I also know he will rise to the occasion and find his true destiny.

Darren Shan has created a complex set of characters that stays with the reader long after the cover is closed. I cannot wait until next year when the series concludes.

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