This series grabbed me several years ago when I added the first title in the series, Found, to my library’s collection, so I was super excited when I saw that the sixth installment in The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix was out. I quickly added it to a book order, and, of course, it was the first title from the order I grabbed to read.
Risked begins with Jonah Skidmore and his sister Katherine doing some computer research trying to figure out which of history’s missing children Jonah may be (If this doesn’t make sense to you, stop reading this blog immediately and go read the first five books of the series). As they are learning about the Anastasia and Alexei Romonov, children of the last Tsar of Russia, Chip, Jonah’s friend and Katherine’s kind-of boyfriend, shows up with Daniella, the only one of the missing that was not present in the time cave when Jonah, Chip, and the other 33 Missing learned that they were actually famous children from history who had been kidnapped by Gary and Hodge, two rouge time agents wishing to make a fortune from families in future wishing to adopt these famous children. Unbeknownst to Jonah, Katherine, and Chip (and actually unbeknownst to herself as well) Daniella is working with Gavin, a surly Missing child who has plotted with Gary and Hodge to kidnap the group and take them to the future, but as bad guys often do, they mislead Gavin into actually taking the group back to the very day in 1918 when the whole Romonov family, Daniella’s and Gavin’s real historical family, were executed. How are Jonah, Katherine, and Chip going to rescue Daniella and Gavin with a dumbed down Elucidator that can only take them to 1918 or make them invisible. To make matters even more difficult, after being rejoined with her tracer and getting all of Anastasia’s memories and feelings, Daniella refuses to be rescued without rescuing the rest of the Romonov family.
As with all the books in The Missing Series, Haddix skillfully blends the fictional story of the time travelers with the historical events of the time and family described using the real names of people and places as much as possible. This story kept me guessing the whole time. Being only slightly familiar with the true story of the Romonovs, I knew that most of the Romonov family were killed, so how was Haddix going to complete the story she had woven and still stay true to the historical facts that she always details in the Author’s Note at the end of each book. In the end, I was not disappointed. While Haddix did take a bit of poetic license with some of the surviving characters, her fictional account still fit in with the beliefs about the fates of the Romonovs at the time she began writing the story. As always, I loved the story of the books, and I learned a few things about history that I didn’t know.
The worst thing about reading a book series that has not been completed is that you have to wait for what seems like an eternity for the next volume to be published (Redeemed is not due out until September 2015), but the good thing about the proliferation of electronic reading devices is the current trend of these series authors releasing electronic short stories to accompany their series. Haddix has thankfully joined this trend with the publication of Sought, a short story that delves more fully into the character Daniella (at least according to the description on Amazon ). I only learned about Sought when looking for the Amazon listing of Risked for this blog. Now I think I’ll go download a short story to read.