Cover image for Freedom fire
Title:
Freedom fire
ISBN:
9781338268843
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
291 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Reading Level:
840 Lexile.
Summary:
The squad links up with the dino-mounted troops of the Louisiana Native Guard, an all-black regiment in the Union Army fighting to free their people. They're led by General Sheridan, surrounded by enemy forces in Tennessee and desperate for any edge to sway the tide of battle. Magdalys's burgeoning powers might be the Union's last hope. But she doesn't want to abandon the search for her brother. And she might not be the only one with a mysterious connection to dinosaurs. With the Civil War raging around her and the Union on the brink of collapse, how can Magdalys choose between the army that needs her help to survive and the brother she risked everything to save?
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Summary

Summary

Magdalys and the squad are flying south on pteroback. South to rescue her older brother. South to war.

The squad links up with the dino-mounted troops of the Louisiana Native Guard, an all-black regiment in the Union Army fighting to free their people. They're led by General Sheridan, surrounded by enemy forces in Tennessee and desperate for any edge to sway the tide of battle.
Magdalys's burgeoning powers might be the Union's last hope. But she doesn't want to abandon the search for her brother. And she might not be the only one with a mysterious connection to dinosaurs.

With the Civil War raging around her and the Union on the brink of collapse, how can Magdalys choose between the army that needs her help to survive and the brother she risked everything to save?


Author Notes

Daniel José Older is an American. He writes fantasy and young adult fiction. His debut novel was Half-Resurrection Blues which is the first book in his urban fantasy series, Bone Street Rumba. His other books include Salsa Nocturna and Shadowshaper. His short stories and essays have appeared in various print and online media. He is co-editor of the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. He also facilitates workshops on storytelling. Formerly he worked as an emergency medical technician in New York City. He is a musician and member of the soul quartet Ghost Star.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this thrilling sequel to Dactyl Hill Squad, Magdalys Roca and her crew of dinosaur-riding orphans head southward, having gotten swept up by the American Civil War. Magdalys, still exploring the true extent of her ability to communicate with and control dinosaurs, hopes to find her long-lost brother, a Union soldier who was reportedly wounded in action. Along the way, the group encounters the all-black forces of the Union-affiliated Louisiana Native Guard Mounted Artillery Unit. Magdalys and her friends' various skills prove useful to the war effort, and Magdalys discovers that some Confederates have her abilities. Torn between family and duty, Magdalys's loyalties and resources are tested when she's sent to New Orleans on an urgent mission. While Older's inclusion of dinosaurs adds a fanciful element, the trauma of conflict, the era's prevalent racism, and the underappreciated contributions of people of color to the war bring verisimilitude to the story. In addition to heart-pounding action sequences and cinematic moments (such as aerial combat involving pterodactyls), the tale's strong emotional core reinforces the importance of family in all of its forms. Background notes elaborate on the story's elements. Intelligent, rousing, and abundantly diverse, this is every bit as satisfying as the first installment. Ages 8-12. Agency: JABberwocky Literary Agency. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

The Dactyl Hill Squad, led by Magdalys Roca, is on the move, heading south to find her soldier brother, who is missing in action during the American Civil War in this alternate-­history adventure yarn. As their dinosaur friends fly them over Tennessee, they become embroiled in the fighting, and Magdalys' skill wrangling dinos is uncovered. She may not be the only talented one, though, and her abilities may not be enough to help the Union Army turn the war their way. History comes alive, with dinosaurs and spies added to actual battles like Chickamauga and Milliken's Bend. Older also continues to shine a light on heroic people of color, such as those in the Louisiana 9th Division, the Black army doctors whose wartime practice was limited to treating African Americans and camp animals, and Native American General Ely Samuel Parker all soldiers and officers who faced animosity from their white counterparts, even while fighting beside them. An author's note provides further information about the people, places, dinosaurs, and weaponry mentioned in the book.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Older has middle-graders' number with this dino-charged series. Stampedes are likely!--Cindy Welch Copyright 2019 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-In this second installment of the series, Magdalys Roca and friends fly into the midst of the raging Civil War hoping to reach her wounded Union soldier brother in New Orleans. The book opens during their journey south from New York when, atop the giant Pteranodon Stella, squad member Cymbeline calls for an enigmatic stop in Tennessee. The group soon discover her true role in the war as they meet with Union General Sheridon's dino-mounted Louisiana Native troops, an African American regiment. High levels of tension and danger ensue as Magdalys witnesses the horrors of war while tamping down her increasing ability to communicate with and control various types of dinosaurs. She even saves the life of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and is called upon to use these talents in the war effort. As her friends go their separate ways, she learns that her brother is in grave danger, and she faces a difficult decision: buck the odds of survival to locate her brother, Montez, or assist the army for the greater good? This series deals with the consequences of war, the racism of both Northern and Southern whites toward individuals of Native American, African American, and Afro-Caribbean heritage, and the pains of growing up during this era. An author's note provides backstory, although the addition of a map of the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean would be helpful. VERDICT This series installment will draw readers in with its fast-paced action, likable characters, and fantastical twists on Civil War history.-Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Magdalys and company return in this sequel to Dactyl Hill Squad (2018).On their way with their pteranodon to New Orleans to rescue Magdalys' injured Union soldier brother, the squad falls in with the all-black Louisiana Native Guard (that they're not Native American is commented on), led by Gen. Sheridan. Secrets soon start to spill: The sole adult in their crew, thespian Cymbeline, is actually a Union spy, and when Sheridan discovers Magdalys is a dino-wrangler, he tries to inveigle her into Union service. Magdalys feels betrayed by Cymbeline, wants to prioritize her brother, and understandably doesn't trust Sheridanbut that doesn't save the squad from getting pulled into battle. The rapid pace is akin to the first installment's but smoother, and as the squad navigates peril after peril, the supporting characters come into their own. As Afro-Cuban Magdalys recognizes how putting her power in Union hands could help enslaved black people, she vacillates. Showing great respect for his readers, Older doesn't pull any punches. Amaya, who is Apache, points out the irony of fighting for people who stole Native land. Later, Magdalys grapples with the unpleasant truth that (most?) Northerners would happily keep black people enslaved in exchange for an end to the wareven Gen. Grant himself. Readers will be relieved that in a cruelly unjust world she gets a happy ending, though it's clear her story is far from over.Blisteringly paced, thought-provoking adventure. (Historical fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Excerpts

Excerpts

In the sky just ahead, a small clutch of archaeops swarmed one of the new dactyls and slashed its wings, sending the creature into a shrieking plummet toward the trees. Magdalys shuddered -- the poor thing had come to save her and now...She blinked away tears, shook her head, and peered over the pteranodon's shoulder. The girl stared up with a defiant grin. "So you're the Union's new dinomaster. Just a child, I see. And a Negress at that." She shook her head pityingly. "I guess they're determined to prove to the world how pathetic their sham ideas about equality are."Magdalys had no idea what to say to that. All she knew was that people and dinos were being massacred all around her, and blood was pouring out of the creature that had saved her life.Another desperate caw rose inside Magdalys and Stella heaved suddenly to the side."Whoa!" Hannibal yelled behind Magdalys."I'm about to destroy your pitiful air cavalry," the girl said, pulling out a chain with a grappling hook at the end and sending it into a swing over her head, "but you can be comforted in knowing you were defeated by the greatest dinomaster that ever lived, Elizabeth Crawbell. I'm sure you've read about my exploits.""I haven't," Magdalys said. "I have no idea who you are."Stella had swung them away from the battlefield, and now the dark Appalachian forests filled the world below them.Elizabeth looked a little put out, then just shrugged and sent her grappling hook flying up toward Stella's crest. With all the others busy fighting off the archaeops, there was only one way to dislodge this arrogant girl and her beast. Dive! Magdalys commanded. The last cohesive thought Magdalys had before the terror of a sheer plummet took hold was that she hoped the others had remembered to secure themselves to the saddle. Excerpted from Freedom Fire by Daniel José Older All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.