Book Review: Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer by Will Summerhouse

Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer is a middle grade adventure novel by Will Summerhouse. Eleven-year-old Orion lives with his stodgy grandfather in eastern Maine. When a series of strange events draws Orion into the mystery of a lost explorer he is swept up in an adventure that takes him to the top of the world. To survive he must survive in the arctic, outwit a scheming treasure hunter, and take on a tyrant with an anger management problem. Can Orion solve the mystery and get back home alive?

Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer is an exciting tale with a balanced mix of survival fiction, mystery, action, and adventure. Orion Poe is a brave and loyal young hero with a pragmatic take on the world. he does not always toss himself into danger, but does a good number of times after weighing the pros and cons of action versus inaction. The story has a bit of a Treasure Island feel to it, so if you have always been a fan of that classic this book might feel like a new take of favorite ideas. Orion comes across a variety of crazy characters and situations. the professor, the ship captain, the shifty treasure hunter, and the crew of the ship they take north are just the start. There is a good deal of Orion finding his way on his own, and proving himself to those that might otherwise consider him too young to be of use. The combination of coming of age, survival, and sheer adventure might capture the attention of readers that might otherwise lose interest in reading. The short chapters might also keep these readers going, giving them satisfaction regularly in having completed a chapter, or two.

I liked that the grand adventure is linked to the real-life explorer John Franklin and there are little bits of knowledge about him and surviving in cold conditions through the book, as well as the historical information included at the end of the story. I rather liked Orion's grandfather, and only wish he had been included in more of the story.

I would suggest Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer for readers around nine and older. I think readers that enjoy action, adventure, mystery, or survival fiction would connect with the story the most. Readers that enjoy coming of age tales and exploration can also find a great deal to like here. I am not a big fan of survival fiction, I am one of those readers that prefers character driven plots more than stories where characters are consistently forced to react to outside forces, but I can think of many readers that will greatly enjoy the book.

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