The Quantum League: Spell Robbers

spellrobbersThe Quantum League, Book 1

Written by Matthew J. Kirby

Ben, who just moved to a new town and school, decides to attend an after-school science camp put on by a quantum physics professor at his mom’s university. He quickly discovers that this is no regular science camp; Dr. Hughes is training Ben and several other young people in the art and science of Actuation, the ability to alter physical reality simply by re-imagining things at the subatomic level. The after-school club is violently disrupted one day when Dr. Hughes and her equipment are abducted by a gang of criminal actuators. Ben and his friend Patrick are pulled into an underground world of actuation-based crime syndicates and spy organizations operating independent of any authority. Ben finds he must turn triple agent and exercise his growing powers of actuation in an attempt to rescue Dr. Hughes and her sought-after equipment, all just to return to normal life with his mother.

This was a solid and satisfying action/adventure story with elements of spy fiction, superhero narratives, and wizard tales, centered on the unique concept that the source of the “magic” is based in quantum mechanics. This story is Kirby’s first to be set in contemporary America, and while it lacks the unique atmospheres of the historical fantasy worlds of his previous novels, this contemporary setting may engage a wider range of readers than his previous books. As in Kirby’s other books, the action here is complemented or rather brought forth by the rich psychology of the main character and his complex relationships with other characters. There is an exploration of trust and whether it is admirable or justified to cause harm to people for the cause of some “greater good.” This marks the start of a great new series with a main character seemingly capable of almost anything. Watch out.

Review by Joshua Whiting, Granite School District Librarian
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-9

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The Quantum League: Spell Robbers
Written by Matthew J. Kirby
Scholastic Press
272 pages
Release Date: January 28, 2014
ISBN: 9780545502269 (hardcover)

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