Gods of Manhattan
Dutton Juvenile (2008)
Reviewed by Neha Kashmiri (age 13) for Reader Views (6/08)
“Gods of Manhattan” is a fantasy novel by Scott Mebus. Thirteen-year-old Rory Hennessy’s world has always just been his little family. When a magician’s trick opens his eyes to Mannahatta, a city that co-exists with the Manhattan we know, nothing is the same for Rory. Mannahatta is a city full of warrior cockroaches, crocodile riding gangs, and papier-mâché children. The city, built by legend and history, is ruled by the immortal Gods of Mannahatta including Peter Stuyvesant, Alexander Hamilton and Babe Ruth. If something in Manhattan was important enough, loved enough or even remembered enough, it is reborn in Mannahatta as a spirit or as a god.
Rory finds out that he is a “Light,” a human who can see through all illusions and see Mannahatta and reveal it to others — a gift that is more trouble than it’s worth. With his sister Bridget in tow, Rory sets out reluctantly to save the Munsee’s, an Indian tribe betrayed and imprisoned in the Trap. The Trap is a barrier erected around Central Park to keep the Munsee’s in and Mannahatta’s spirits and gods out. With the help of the Rattle Watch, a ragtag group made up of the children of the gods, Rory has to deal with a tag-along little sister, robbing a bank and more than one betrayal. Is the wrong Rory’s trying to correct a wrong at all, or is it something else entirely?
The book at more than 300-pages seems like a quick read because of it’s never ending action. The main character, Rory, is intelligent and lovable in his reluctance to do what every one else wants him to do. There are a lot of characters to keep track of but all of them have a purpose and jobs to do in the story. The ending leaves an open for a sequel and my lap is ready for one to fall into it. “Gods of Manhattan” is recommended for anyone with a love of history, mystery, and fantasy.