Egbert lives with his father, older brother (Adonis) and sister (Venus) on Deadweather Island, home to their families ugly fruit plantation. Egbert's mother died during childbirth causing resentment, a beating or two from his brother and bitterness and sadness from his father. Egbert's dad even breaks with the family tradition of naming his children after Greek God's by naming him Egbert. One day, Egbert's father decides to take the family on a trip to neighboring Sunrise Island. While there, he mysteriously meets with a lawyer and shows him a parchment with Native writing. Soon after the family is introduced to a influential man from town, Mr. Pembroke. The family is invited to come stay at his home and he even insists they go on one of his famous balloon rides. However, at the last moment Egbert jumps out leaving the family to float away and eventually they disappear all together. The Pembroke's invite him to stay with them at Cloud Manor and it is here that he receives the nick name Egg from their daughter, Millicent Pembroke. Things begin to become suspicious when Mr. Pembroke asks Egg questions about what he knows about the Fire King and the parchment that his dad had. After Egg's family fails to return, Mr. Pembroke tells Egg the right thing to do is for him to adopt him, but Egg refuses believing that he and Millicent are destined to marry. Becoming angered Mr. Pembroke suggests that Egg become his apprentice, but plots to have him pushed off a cliff instead. When the would be assassin falls to his death instead, Egg chooses to flee aboard a tourist boat, placing himself in the path to come face to face with pirates. Just look at the cover. It has all the elements of the story, the balloon, pirate ships, Cloud Manor and even Millicent at his side. My favorite character was Guts, the one armed cabin boy who curses and says what's on his mind. Guts, fits him to a tee doesn't it? He stays loyal and true to his friend Egg, even warning him that there is something fishy about Millicent. On the flip side, I had a harder time with Egg. Which is kinda strange since he is the main character but how he seemed to only be thirteen but was planning to marry Millicent and oozing with affection for her. Maybe it was all the books he read that made him a true romantic. Although Egg's family was cruel to him and I can understand that he wouldn't miss them terribly, I also would have thought he would have asked more questions about them or pushed harder to have Mr. Pembroke look for them. It left me with the feeling that they just got swept under the rug or will be revisited in Book 2. Overall, the story is filled with mystery, yep pirates, some suspenseful escapes and a quest to unravel the hiding spot for the Fire Kings treasure. A 3 out of 5 book for me.
Just for the record, copy of the book provided by Penguin publishing and won at Charlotteslibrary.blogspot. A big thank you to both