When Brian and Wren’s grandfather disappears (again), the two siblings must go on an adventure with their father (the famous adventurer, Doc Wilde) and his two trusty sidekicks (Phineas Bartlett and Declan mac Coul) in an attempt to find where Grandpa Wilde has disappeared to.
Their search takes them to a tropical jungle that just happens to have a rift in space. An evil being from another universe is trying to get into ours and is using frogs (including flying mutant frogs, and frog-man-things that used to be human!) to help it break into our world. Somehow Grandpa Wilde has gotten himself into the middle of this, and it’s up to our heroes to try to find him, and stop the evil being from devouring our universe.
This is Tim Byrd’s first novel, and the first in a series of books about Doc Wilde and his adventurous kids. It’s based on the pulp books of yore, and while I cannot recall any pulp fiction that I have actually read, I hear that this is very close in style to those.
It’s definitely a fun book, for those looking for rip roaring adventure with a dash of good ol’ scifi. It has it all: Action! Adventure! Fighting! Evil Beings From Other Universes! Mutant Frogs! It would not surprise me if this book was a big hit with young boys.
There were two main things that drew away from my personal enjoyment of this book. The first was Doc Wilde himself. He is like Indiana Jones, except that he’s also a body builder. And an inventor. And an architect. And an awesome dad. And goodness knows what else. He comes across at absolutely perfect at everything he does – and because of that, he was kind of boring.
The other thing was that the timeline seemed a bit inconsistent. It apparently took Grandpa Wilde 20 days to hike through the jungle to the big scary frog-shaped cave… but the rest of the Wilde family went searching for him a week after he left home to do a speech at Harvard, and it only took them a few days to get to the same bit scary frog-shaped cave. So I’m missing a bunch of days here.. but I could’ve overlooked something about their trek through the forest. ETA: I was reading an ARC of the book; Tim has left a comment stating that this was changed for the final version of the book.
The Bottom Line: While I personally may not have loved this book, I have no doubt that young boys would thoroughly enjoy it. It’s got action and adventure. It’s got lots of fighting between the good guys and evil mutant frogs. It’s got no real slow period – completely action packed. While I would definitely recommend this to someone who is looking for a book for a young boy, I won’t reread it, and I won’t read more in the series.