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In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott ODell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstaclesand in the midst of the American Revolution. The In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution. The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.


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In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott ODell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstaclesand in the midst of the American Revolution. The In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution. The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom.

30 review for Forge

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Forge was a compelling book about the Revolutionary War, specifically the events that took place at Valley Forge. The main character, Curzon, is an escaped adolescent slave who enlists in order to keep himself safe and serve a purpose. I liked this book, but not as much as its predecessor, Chains. Generally I do not enjoy historical fiction, so the fact that I finished this book in a couple of days says something about Laurie Halse Andersons writing ability. She keeps things interesting but Forge was a compelling book about the Revolutionary War, specifically the events that took place at Valley Forge. The main character, Curzon, is an escaped adolescent slave who enlists in order to keep himself safe and serve a purpose. I liked this book, but not as much as its predecessor, Chains. Generally I do not enjoy historical fiction, so the fact that I finished this book in a couple of days says something about Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing ability. She keeps things interesting but relevant to the Revolution, intertwining history and original plot development without becoming tiring. The reintroduction of Isabel toward the latter half of the novel seemed out of place and awkward, though I loved her character in the previous book. She reveals a revelation to Curzon that isn’t further fleshed out, and their ensuing romance was rushed without explanation, especially because when they finally reunite they are angry and separated from one another. Regardless of these problems, Forge is a great book to read for historical fiction and young-adult fiction fans alike. The extensive research performed by Anderson is extremely evident, and I am looking forward to the next installment in the Seeds of America series, Ashes. Want to read more of my reviews? Follow me here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Anze

    After escaping with Isabel, both her and Curzon are on the run. As both are still property of their white owners, they must move fast and stay out of sight. However, tensions between Isabel and Curzon cause that this pair go their separate ways. Unaware of Isabel's whereabouts, Curzon moves on eventually joining the Continental Army. Soon Curzon finds himself in Valley Forge, preparing to face the British. The greatetest enemy, however, that he has to face are the natural elements that welcome After escaping with Isabel, both her and Curzon are on the run. As both are still property of their white owners, they must move fast and stay out of sight. However, tensions between Isabel and Curzon cause that this pair go their separate ways. Unaware of Isabel's whereabouts, Curzon moves on eventually joining the Continental Army. Soon Curzon finds himself in Valley Forge, preparing to face the British. The greatetest enemy, however, that he has to face are the natural elements that welcome the ill-prepared American side. As he struggles to survive the winter, Isabel is not far from Curzon's thoughts. The sequel to 'Chains', 'Forge' is told from Curzon's point of view. After Isabel helps free Curzon from jail, both of them run and hope to find Ruth (Isabel's sister). Being on the run, however, raises the tension between this pair and they part ways. Curzon moves on and finds himself amid a battle between the patriots and the loyalists. He helps save Eben, a soldier for the American side. What follows is that Curzon signs up in the Continental Army despite the fact that he is not free. While aimed at a younger audience, Anderson greatly depicts the struggles and difficulties of war. She again, brings up slavery and race and that lingering question of how can the Americans fight for freedom when they are reluctant to free their slaves. The prose is well written and the tone complicated yet hopeful. Anderson transported the reader to Valley Forge in the midst of winter. Delivering a historically accurate and moving narrative, this was good read. Valley Forge was an iconic landmark during the war. George Washington choose this land for its strategic location to Philadelphia. What he did not take into account was the winter and the bitter cold. Because of that the 12,000 people that marched into Valley Forge were ill-prepared. The soldiers had to build their lodgings, did not the proper clothing to sustain the winter and had very little in the way of food. Surviving mainly on firecakes (flour and water mixed togther, then cooked on heated stones), the soldiers labored under harsh conditions. Because of the terrible road conditions, it was near impossible for food and supplies to reach the camp. Thousands died due to starvation, cold and disease. Many lost limbs due to frostbite and its important to remember that many of the soldiers were young boys. Anderson portarys this in the narrative vividly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    The refresher course in American history was my favorite thing about this book. Valley Forge, winter of 1777-78. Remember learning about that in school? Thousands of men (and quite a few women, too) starved and froze all winter long, and many died. The suffering was largely a result of incompetence and poor planning on the part of their leaders. Some things never change... The continuing story of Curzon and Isabel was enjoyable, if a little contrived. I think it will appeal to young people as The refresher course in American history was my favorite thing about this book. Valley Forge, winter of 1777-78. Remember learning about that in school? Thousands of men (and quite a few women, too) starved and froze all winter long, and many died. The suffering was largely a result of incompetence and poor planning on the part of their leaders. Some things never change... The continuing story of Curzon and Isabel was enjoyable, if a little contrived. I think it will appeal to young people as they imagine what kids their age were facing 230+ years ago. Many of the soldiers at Valley Forge were really just boys in their early teen years. Laurie Halse Anderson's research is impeccable. I admire her dedication to accuracy in writing historical novels for young adults. Her stories have enough complexity to appeal to more mature readers as well. Book 3, Ashes, is due out next year. I'll be eagerly watching for it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barb Middleton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Left hanging as to what happened to Isabel and Curzon in "Chains," book one of Seeds of America, the action continues to steamroll with Curzon finding himself in the middle of the British fighting the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. Isabel has run off tired of waiting for the two to go find Ruth after fleeing to freedom and Curzon is trying to find her. He gets lost and ends up saving the life of Eben a brawny boy his age with a big voice and big heart. A series of mishaps leads Curzon to Left hanging as to what happened to Isabel and Curzon in "Chains," book one of Seeds of America, the action continues to steamroll with Curzon finding himself in the middle of the British fighting the Patriots during the Revolutionary War. Isabel has run off tired of waiting for the two to go find Ruth after fleeing to freedom and Curzon is trying to find her. He gets lost and ends up saving the life of Eben a brawny boy his age with a big voice and big heart. A series of mishaps leads Curzon to enlisting and making friends with a troop of soldiers. Not everyone welcomes a black soldier, but throughout the course of trying to survive Valley Forge, they form a bond that goes beyond prejudices. The author is fantastic with historical details making this better than your average historical novel. The character development of Curzon is terrific with Eben, but falls off some with Isabel. Her reaction to him was cooler than I expected and some of her actions didn't make sense. I kept waiting for more explanations regarding their fight but it never comes and as a result the romance seemed rushed. Eben and his fight with Curzon, for instance, was more interesting because it showed him having to face his prejudices and think about not going along with common opinion that was another human being owning a person based solely on the color of his or her skin. When Curzon arrives at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777, the author captures the ill-prepared army and dire conditions the soldiers had to survive in during subzero temperatures. Lacking shoes, shelter and food, thousands of men died that winter. Curzon's descriptions of eating "firecakes" is unforgettable. Animals suffered as well. One chapter describes the supply wagon arriving and the horse dying shortly thereafter. And just like in "Chains," Halse Anderson captures the dilemma facing black soldiers such as Curzon who are lied to by masters or told they are free and then find they are not because the white man selfishly wants to enslave them for his own needs. Injustices abound and even moreso for Isabel that is forced to wear an iron collar. The plot has some conveniences that seem contrived, but for the most part there is plenty of action and adventure. When Eben and Curzon fight, Curzon asks him if only white man can be free. Eben says of course not thinking of the free black men he grew up with at home. When Curzon asks if slaves can be free and Eben says of course not because they are owned by a master, Curzon says this is an unnatural law and compares it to the Patriots fighting against the British government and their unfair laws. Eben gets mad at him for the comparison and the two don't speak, but Curzon has planted the seed of equality in Eben who is a fair and just person. It is not surprising at the end when he has empathy for Curzon and changes his mind. Again this story ends on an exciting cliffhanger. Another winner by Hale Anderson.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    All because he stole something that should have been his to start with. This is historical fiction as it ought to be written: a vivid portrait of the times woven from many factual threads as well as period appropriate people and ideas. But this is no history, rather an engaging, enjoyable fiction. Each chapter opens with an epigram from some primary source draw from letters or journals of that time. The story also explores the lot of the common soldier encamped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania that “All because he stole something that should have been his to start with.” This is historical fiction as it ought to be written: a vivid portrait of the times woven from many factual threads as well as period appropriate people and ideas. But this is no history, rather an engaging, enjoyable fiction. Each chapter opens with an epigram from some primary source draw from letters or journals of that time. The story also explores the lot of the common soldier encamped at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania that brutal winter of 1777-8. “My humors fell out of balance, and I became tetchy and sour-minded.” The voice of the protagonist, a young black male fleeing from slavery and joining the fight for American independence, sounds authentic. Written to simultaneously capture the attention and persuade young readers. “Even from his grave, Father could be an annoying fellow.” A fictional treatment of American slavery risks either sugar coating what was an awful reality or demonizing everyone and everything involved. Anderson draws a clear line against slavery while exploring the varying attitudes and justifications of that day. “The land which we have watered with our tears and blood is now our mother country.” A good, standalone read, even though it is the sequel to Chains. “If our luck does not turn for the good on its own,” she said, “we’ll make it turn.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Molly Magro

    Every bit as powerful, heart-poundingly suspenseful, fascinating, and honest as CHAINS. I am in love with this series. Curzon's voice is so solidly written, and every time you think you can put the book down, something unthinkable happens and you have to keep reading. Not that this is a bad thing, it can just keep you up later than you'd like and make you extend your lunch breaks, etc... This made me think a lot (especially since yesterday was Veteran's Day) about how many soldiers camped in Every bit as powerful, heart-poundingly suspenseful, fascinating, and honest as CHAINS. I am in love with this series. Curzon's voice is so solidly written, and every time you think you can put the book down, something unthinkable happens and you have to keep reading. Not that this is a bad thing, it can just keep you up later than you'd like and make you extend your lunch breaks, etc... This made me think a lot (especially since yesterday was Veteran's Day) about how many soldiers camped in miserable conditions at Valley Forge, things I cannot imagine enduring, like going shoeless in the snow, eating burnt flour morning and night, and having to watch so many die of disease or infection or undergo amputations, all to win freedom for America, and yet African-American soldiers could not count on freedom for themselves. I investigated the wars where more soldiers died of disease than of battle wounds and discovered that this is true for essentially every war in history up through World War I because of the Spanish Flu outbreak. So yesterday I felt thankful for all of the medical advances that have been made, but sad that human intelligence has not yet advanced past war or past the idea that not all of us are created equal. I remain hopeful that both of these advancements will one day be made.. Thank you to Laurie Halse Anderson for keeping these topics so relevant through your work.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hart

    This is the second book in a trilogy. I enjoyed Chains more than this, probably because it is Curzon's story, not Isabel's, and so I will likely be reading the 3rd book in order to get the rest of the story. The author does a great job of making history come alive.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kassidy

    Honestly I thought it was great having my favorite character from the first book as the main character in this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Forge,the outstanding sequel to Chains, by truly gifted YA author Laurie Halse Anderson, will turn even reluctant readers into lovers of historical fiction and make history buffs out of even the most resistant student (young or old). The very accurate descriptions of the horrid living conditions in the colonial military camps during the winter of 1777 sound like something out of holocaust history. The battle scenes are equally accurate, equally horrifying and action packed. Anderson also does a Forge,the outstanding sequel to Chains, by truly gifted YA author Laurie Halse Anderson, will turn even reluctant readers into lovers of historical fiction and make history buffs out of even the most resistant student (young or old). The very accurate descriptions of the horrid living conditions in the colonial military camps during the winter of 1777 sound like something out of holocaust history. The battle scenes are equally accurate, equally horrifying and action packed. Anderson also does a great job of capturing the idealism, optimism and courage of the young inexperienced colonial fighters. Even more gripping than the story of the war is the story of the slaves who were promised freedom if they enlisted for the colonies and were also promised freedom and riches if they spied on their masters for the British. Adult readers know neither side has any intention of keeping its promise, but YA readers with their strong sense of fairness and clearly defined ideas of right and wrong will be shocked at the callousness and cruelty of the slave owners and some of the soldiers. I loved that Anderson begins each chapter with quotes from letters actually written by people involved in the Revolution and the events of the novel. Some of the quotes are from leaders like Thomas Payne and Abigail Adams, and some are from ordinary colonists. Forge will be a great movie and a classic YA novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judy Desetti

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once again I am disappointed not to find out what happened to little Ruth, sister of Isabel. In fact this story never learns one thing about Ruth. This story is told through the voice of Curzon as the two escape New York and end up in New Jersey fleeing for freedom. There we end up following Curzon as he enlists as a free man in the Continental army to fight for the Revolutionists. Isabel runs off to find her sister. They meet again when they are both imprisoned again as slaves and owned by Once again I am disappointed not to find out what happened to little Ruth, sister of Isabel. In fact this story never learns one thing about Ruth. This story is told through the voice of Curzon as the two escape New York and end up in New Jersey fleeing for freedom. There we end up following Curzon as he enlists as a free man in the Continental army to fight for the Revolutionists. Isabel runs off to find her sister. They meet again when they are both imprisoned again as slaves and owned by Bellingham. The relationship between Curzon and Isabel is a tug of war between fighting and eventually ends up as caring and loving each other. I loved the story of how Curzon got his name and what it means. Eventually they manage another daring escape only to have the novel over and once again being left as a cliff hanger for a third novel. Will they even look for Ruth? Will they be captured again? What happens next? Frankly despite that the books are good, I want to be able to read a story without needing three books to get the whole story. I am getting a bit worn down by the trilogy books. RECOMMEND

  11. 5 out of 5

    Clara Biesel

    This book is wonderful. I hope everyone grows up reading these in their revolutionary war education. Yes, this is historical fiction but it's thrilling, painful and eye opening. Each chapter opens with a little quote from nonfiction from the time, which really gives root to the ideas in the book, the questions of morality in a war for freedom, fought in part by slaves.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lia

    I really felt like I was there at Valley Forge. I love how the author used researched facts to create a realistic picture of what it was like at this camp.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Slack

    This is the best book I have ever read!! Ever!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Trent

    I definitely loved this more than Chains. Seeing Curzon's view on life in Valley Forge is interesting, in a good way.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Krista Ashe

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I just can't say how much I have enjoyed this series. I didn't know Laurie had a historical fiction series until I went to ALA. I was fortunate to get a signed copy of Chains and then a signed ARC of Forge. She certainly delivers just as much to this genre as she does to YA Contemp. The characters, the setting, the history...they all blend together to make a compelling story that it enthralling from start to finish. I didn't realize at first glance this would be Curzon's story. I had been so I just can't say how much I have enjoyed this series. I didn't know Laurie had a historical fiction series until I went to ALA. I was fortunate to get a signed copy of Chains and then a signed ARC of Forge. She certainly delivers just as much to this genre as she does to YA Contemp. The characters, the setting, the history...they all blend together to make a compelling story that it enthralling from start to finish. I didn't realize at first glance this would be Curzon's story. I had been so immersed in Isbabel's from the book Chains, that I assumed it would follow her story. I won't say I was disappointed b/c I loved the character of Curzon from Chains, so it was interesting to see what happened to him. So, after Isabel helped bust him out of prison and they rowed to safety, they found work for awhile. Isabel of course wanted to make it to South Carolina where her sister, Ruth, was being held. But Curzon wanted to go back to war, so Isabel ended up stealing their money and running away. In the woods, Curzon ends up saving a young colonial's life named Eben or Ebeneezer. His uncle just happens to be the leader of the militia, so Curzon joins back up. They end up at Valley Forge trying to survive through the harsh winter and unbearable conditions. Eben's uncle is a kind commander, but he ends up dying. Then the unit falls into the hands of the traiterous, Burns, who has always been prejudiced against Curzon. When Curzon's old master, Bellingham, enters the camp one day and asks for him to come and testify about life at camp, Curzon thinks he has the means now to help his unit. But Bellingham, who owed him money and promised his freedom if Curzon would enlist, only ends up enslaving him and forcing him to work again. But Curzon finds himself in further shock when who but Isabel is also working for Bellingham. After trying to run several times, there's a horrible iron collar around her neck. Isabel tells Curzon that she did feel bad for stealing the money, and she had been coming back to give it to him when she was snatched off the street and auctioned. Curzon keeps trying to find ways for them to runaway. importantly he wants to get back to his regiment b/c he's a soldier to the core. Eben and the others in his unit even sneak around to give him the option of running away, but he won't without Isabel. But Curzon can't believe it when Isabel decides to runaway with Gideon, Curzon's enemy on the plantation. But Isabel ends up coming back when she realizes that Gideon was a British spy, and that the "ghosts" of her parents couldn't be felt when she left the plantation. Just as the French are pledging allegiance to America, Curzon and Isabel see their last chance at escape when they find out Isabel is to be sold the next week. Although Bellingham comes back and almost stops them, they are able to flee to Valley Forge with Isabel under the guise of a boy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Donalyn

    Laurie Halse Anderson calls her historical fiction works "historical thrillers" and the term is well-deserved. Picking up where Chains left off, Anderson continues the story of Curzon and Isabelle, two freed slaves, during the Revolutionary War. Curzon serves as the narrator this time, and we see the horrible conditions at Valley Forge through his eyes. I cannot wait for the 3rd installment in this series, Ashes.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle

    Not as good as the 1st Seeds of America, Chains, but still good. I thought it was interesting from Curzon's point of view, but I like hearing from Isabel much, much more. I didn't like not knowing what was going on with her. There was also much more violence in this one, since Curzon was in the war and such. I am hoping that the 3rd, Ashes is told from Isabel's point of view. I can't wait to read the 3rd one! This is definitely my favorite Historical Fiction series!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abby Chaput

    Before this book, I knew nothing about the Revolutionary War. But after reading this, I now know more info and to what it was like during that time period. I foolishly did not realize that there were slaves during this war, but this book really educated me on the subject. It was not the best book I've ever read in history (no pun intended), but kept me interested and turning pages!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meena

    This book was a really good sequel to Chains. It's written from Curzon's point of view. It really grabbed my attention and held it until the end. There's going to be a third book, Ashes. I really want to read it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Niang Cing

    FORGE BY Laurie Halse Anderson is an interesting book. I didnt like it, but I didnt hate it. Curzon Smith is the main character of this book, he is somewhat honest and he is protective of Isabel Garden. Curzon ran away from his original owner, Bellingham and also ran away from his current owner, Trumbull. He enrolled in the Cold War and was considered Free, and he was free from what he has explained, he said that his old owner, Bellingham will free him at the end of the war. He got caught and FORGE BY Laurie Halse Anderson is an interesting book. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it. Curzon Smith is the main character of this book, he is somewhat honest and he is protective of Isabel Garden. Curzon ran away from his original owner, Bellingham and also ran away from his current owner, Trumbull. He enrolled in the Cold War and was considered “Free”, and he was free from what he has explained, he said that his old owner, Bellingham will free him at the end of the war. He got caught and taken back by his old owner, Bellingham and threatened so he wouldn’t dare to run away again because he was caught trying, planning to run away. The most important aspect of this book is knowing the characters, memorization, knowing/understanding the situation and time and place, the themes and the plot. The characters' personalities are based on real people and they are mixed between 2 or more. I really enjoyed the fact that even though Curzon has been threatened or lived a really harsh life, he still hasn’t given up on hope. The thing I didn’t really enjoy about Curzon is that he didn’t run away because of Isabel, but luckily, Isabel didn’t turn on him. Curzon had very loyal and amazing friends while he enrolled in the military, they got really close thanks to an incident. There are many themes you can get out of this book. The theme that is mostly used or shown is DON’T GIVE UP because throughout this book it talks about the harsh-ship of Curzon’s and his friends and how they got to where they are because they didn’t give up even though it doesn’t specifically say it, you just know it or feel it. It also shows that kindness will bring you good luck. Good karma. “He died because I threw a rock. I shook my head. No, that gap-toothed boy lives because I threw a rock.” Curzon thought. The gap-toothed boy is Ebenezer. If Curzon hadn’t helped Ebenezer (Ebe) from the British while Curzon was running away from Trumbull, he wouldn’t have had such amazing friends. The plot of this book is when Bellingham and Curzon met, again, in the war. Everything was going well. He managed to lie to his team except Ebe because he knows more about Curzon than the others and he also helped Curzon from Trumbull. Curzon was living his best life, as best as it was when he was at his owner. He experienced what it was like to be free but that didn’t last long. Bellingham and Curzon met again when they were lining up for food and there was a messenger from General Geoge Washington. Although it was a bad day, he wasn’t starving after he had met Bellingham. He was warm and cozy, but even though he was warm and always full, no empty stomach what-so-ever, he didn’t like it. He hated it. In conclusion, this book is really interesting, fun and interesting to read. Although the beginning seems boring, it gets better as the story goes on. I didn’t love the book whether it's in the beginning or at the end, but I didn’t hate it. When I finished reading, I had this eagerness to know what happened next, but it was only on series. I think everyone should read this book. No matter the age.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I couldn't wait to start this book, and only waited as long as I did, because there were so many holds on it at our local library! I probably should have read the descriptor, because I didn't know that the book was going to be from Curzon's view and was a bit disappointed that it was not from Isabella's. However, that disappointment only lasted through the first 5 pages! I was very impressed by Forge. I think it helped that I am reading it in the dead of winter and a number of times was walking I couldn't wait to start this book, and only waited as long as I did, because there were so many holds on it at our local library! I probably should have read the descriptor, because I didn't know that the book was going to be from Curzon's view and was a bit disappointed that it was not from Isabella's. However, that disappointment only lasted through the first 5 pages! I was very impressed by Forge. I think it helped that I am reading it in the dead of winter and a number of times was walking outside in the cold while reading it. It made me further appreciate how cold the soldiers had it at Valley Forge that winter. I must further admit, it's nice that as a small child, we went a number of times to Valley Forge when we lived nearby, so I have pictures in my mind of the layout of the land. In many ways, this book was quite different than Chains. Clearly, the perspective was different and it really took place right in the middle of war and the battlefields. Reading about the deprivation the soldiers in the Revolutionary War went through, always reaffirms my respect for all of these men. The bond between Curzon and those he fought with reminded me of Band of Brothers, the Revolutionary years. The camaraderie formed between those who serve together is amazing to me. This also made me think, as I often do, that war is really a lot of waiting around, punctuated by intense moments of insanity/violence. I found it interesting that the majority of the white soldiers in his unit eventually accepted Curzon as a true equal, which would not have necessarily been the truth for many white people during this time period.; as evidenced by the fact that the Revolutionary War didn't free everyone, not even everyone who fought in it. I think it also shows how spending time with others, can make us aware of their humanity and breakdown the stereotypes we have about others. A powerful message for kids, at whom this novel is clearly aimed (and for adults too, because we often forget simple truths such as these). I'm so glad I checked out #3 on the same day as this one!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex Jones

    The second book in the Seeds of America series, Forge, was written Laurie Halse Anderson and published in 2010. Now eleven years after her popular and film-adapted novel, Speak, Anderson continued her trend of writing deep and meaningful plots that tackle the task of changing her readers for the better. Forge describes the hardships of the American-Independence era as it follows the African-American Curzon through his times being free, a soldier, and a servant, traveling through the historical The second book in the Seeds of America series, Forge, was written Laurie Halse Anderson and published in 2010. Now eleven years after her popular and film-adapted novel, Speak, Anderson continued her trend of writing deep and meaningful plots that tackle the task of changing her readers for the better. Forge describes the hardships of the American-Independence era as it follows the African-American Curzon through his times being free, a soldier, and a servant, traveling through the historical colonies stopping specifically for the Battle of Saratoga and the winter at Valley Forge. His hardships consist of the lack of opportunity, credibility, and overall equality that come with being an African-American during this era. Curzon and his peers are realistic examples of many personalities ranging from sly and evil, to loyal and grateful. Many of the characters are well-developed with back stories that often come into play, such as the references to Curzon’s past experiences with his old friend Isabelle in the previous book, Chains. Unfortunately, the characters are often difficult to relate to unless the reader has experienced forced labor and intense struggle and war. This story and series should be read by all fans of the genre because it depicts a great perspective of the racism and inequality present during this era. The plot of the story is divided into three main sections, Curzon’s time before enlisting in the continental army, Curzon’s time within the army and his experience in Valley Forge, and Curzon’s time serving his previous owner. The largest section, Valley Forge, corresponded with history and often mentioned historical events such as the French and Indian War and historical figures such as George Washington. Forge’s plot is very unpredictable as their are a couple of occasions when the details given foreshadow a different outcome than the true outcome. These unpredictable details make the story exciting and difficult to put down. The structure of the story follows a distinct pattern of good, then bad, then better, then worse, then great, and then terrible. This structure keeps a consistently interesting story and develops a sense of hope and optimism for the characters and the readers. Anderson makes a few intriguing choices throughout the book that seem unnecessary but extremely impact the story. An example of this is the death of Eben’s father. This event develops the theme of loyalty because despite Eben’s tragic loss, he continues to support Curzon for the rest of the story. Richard Wright’s Native Son presents a similar theme of racism and inequality, though to a more extreme extent. Both stories convey a theme of African-Americans being undeservingly mistreated and stereotyped strictly because their skin is a different color. Native Son directly assesses this theme while Forge shares it with a lesson that you should carefully choose friends that will be loyal to you and will be there for you. Though the plot mostly maintains a tame and appropriate status, I would recommend this book to older and more understanding readers that have knowledge of the history of racism and how it affected different people in the late 18th century. Both male and female can enjoy this story because both are mentioned and developed in the sense of forced labor.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Owen Herbst

    Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson is an emotional, edge of your seat novel and I would highly recommend it. The book is one of a series of historical fiction novels, however, Anderson includes real events and people in the book, such as military officers like George Washington. The majority of the book is surrounded around the experience of the runaway slaves, Curzon and Isabel, at Valley Forge in 1777-1778. The slaves are the main characters in the book and are excellently developed. Curzon has a Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson is an emotional, edge of your seat novel and I would highly recommend it. The book is one of a series of historical fiction novels, however, Anderson includes real events and people in the book, such as military officers like George Washington. The majority of the book is surrounded around the experience of the runaway slaves, Curzon and Isabel, at Valley Forge in 1777-1778. The slaves are the main characters in the book and are excellently developed. Curzon has a personality that many people can admire for his bravery and wit. His reaction to events like being recaptured, the death of his sergeant, and horrible camp conditions are realistic and I have no complaints in regard to that. Other side characters are not so perfect. Most of them, like Eben, is just kind of dumb and is barely dynamic. At one point he apologies Curzon and agrees that slaves should be free, but that is the extent to which he changes. The rest of the book Eben is just a Curzon aficionado who Curzon refers to as a close friend. Overall, the plot is solid. Without spoiling it, there are several twists that are unexpected and give the story a suspenseful, exciting atmosphere. (There is also some romance involved.) Forge is a look into the lives of slaves and soldiers alike during the American Revolution. It illustrates the views on slavery, independence, and religion of many different people from the time period it is written about. It also displays the important relationships in slaves’ lives and soldiers’ lives. For example, Isabel and Curzon have a strong relationship even though they are in bondage. For most people, it is hard to imagine a world where they have no family to be loved by, but that is how the world is for Isabel and Curzon. The soldiers are illustrated as having a family-like camaraderie and brotherhood. I would recommend Forge to people who enjoy history and suspence. I think that this is a good book for middle schoolers and high schoolers since it has an interesting storyline that is intricate. However it is not advanced enough to be considered a strong academic book. Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson is an interesting novel that is fun and exciting to read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megalion

    The second book in a marvelous and well researched trilogy about the American Revolution. With particular respect to slavery and blacks serving in the army. First off, you can't go wrong reading any book by Laurie. She's one of my favorite YA authors, in part for her ability to write captivating stories across a wide range of genres. In this book, we rejoin Isabel and Curazon. Actually just Curazon as it begins after Isabel has left him. He's now a runaway slave and ends up falling in with The second book in a marvelous and well researched trilogy about the American Revolution. With particular respect to slavery and blacks serving in the army. First off, you can't go wrong reading any book by Laurie. She's one of my favorite YA authors, in part for her ability to write captivating stories across a wide range of genres. In this book, we rejoin Isabel and Curazon. Actually just Curazon as it begins after Isabel has left him. He's now a runaway slave and ends up falling in with soldiers. This book really emphasizes the sad irony of black people fighting on behalf of the rebels for the country's freedom from England. Which will not include freedom for them. It also gives graphic detail about conditions of war and what soldiering was really like. For those concerned about young readers, there's no explicit cursing. There's a couple of fist fights, a couple of war-related death scenes. And some grevious injuries. Everything else is vaguely alluded to. The hallmark of this book that shows the depth of her research is the epigraphs at the top of every chapter. They come from various diaries, writings, and other accounts of people from that time. Military & government people to free blacks and slaves. "It would be useless for us to denounce the servitude to which the Parliament of Great Britain whishes to reduce us, while we continue to keep our fellow creatures in slavery just because their color is different from ours." --Signer of the Declaration of Independence Dr. Benjamin Rush who purchased William Grubber in 1776 and did not free him until 1794. "Liberty is equally as precious to a black man as it is to a white one, and bondage equally as intolerable to the one as it to the other.... an African, or a Negro may justly challenge and has an undeniable right to his liberty: Consequently, the practise of slave-keeping, which so much abounds in this land is illicit." --Essay written by African American Lemuel Haynes, veteran of the Battle of Lexington "Run away from Birdsborough Forge, in Berks County, Pennsylvania...Cuff Dix; He is an active, well made fellow, and a most excellent hammerman... there is a ring of iron in one of his ears... he has often run away. As Negroes in general think that Lord Dunmore is contending for their liberty, it is not improbable that said Negroe is on his march to join his Lordship's own black regiment." Newspaper advertisement placed in the Pennsylvania Gazette by Mark Bird, Forge owner and Deputy Quartermaster of the Continental Army This would be an excellent book for assigned reading in school for discussion. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It's written for middle grades but has easy appeal for adult readers.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Great look at black youths experience in Revolutionary Times Not only is this a great piece of historical fiction, but it offers a unique first-person experience of a young man who was formerly a slave and now a freeman fighting with the rebel army. Of course, that does not exempt him from tragedy and abuse beyond even the appalling experiences of soldiers at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78. Its also uplifting to see the good fortune and friendship that help overcome these obstacles. Great look at black youth’s experience in Revolutionary Times Not only is this a great piece of historical fiction, but it offers a unique first-person experience of a young man who was formerly a slave and now a freeman fighting with the rebel army. Of course, that does not exempt him from tragedy and abuse beyond even the appalling experiences of soldiers at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78. It’s also uplifting to see the good fortune and friendship that help overcome these obstacles.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yahya Medani

    Forge, the second book from Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America trilogy is written from Curzon's perspective. Curzon, an escaped slave, tries to stay out of the way of anybody that knows might report him as one. He survives through the cold winter with his group of friends. Isabel, is also at the camp helping curzon's group by cooking and cleaning after them. Then when she gets spotted she goes back to being a slave. I really liked how this book presented many different obstacles for the Forge, the second book from Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America trilogy is written from Curzon's perspective. Curzon, an escaped slave, tries to stay out of the way of anybody that knows might report him as one. He survives through the cold winter with his group of friends. Isabel, is also at the camp helping curzon's group by cooking and cleaning after them. Then when she gets spotted she goes back to being a slave. I really liked how this book presented many different obstacles for the main characters. Definitely recommend this book to all historical fiction and realistic fiction lovers.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Butcher

    Forge caught me off guard after reading Chains. This tale follows Curzon whereas Chains followed Isabel. Eventually the stories connect. While the story could be considered long and uneventful, so was the time soldiers spent in Valley Forge. I love the history set alongside the story. I feel as though I have a much more intimate view of the events that took place in the Revolutionary War and more specifically the winter in Valley Forge. Heading to the library now to get Ashes. I am wondering if Forge caught me off guard after reading Chains. This tale follows Curzon whereas Chains followed Isabel. Eventually the stories connect. While the story could be considered long and uneventful, so was the time soldiers spent in Valley Forge. I love the history set alongside the story. I feel as though I have a much more intimate view of the events that took place in the Revolutionary War and more specifically the winter in Valley Forge. Heading to the library now to get Ashes. I am wondering if the final book will carry over from Forge or if it will be a whole new adventure like Forge was to Chains.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gina Baik

    So this was the book that continued after 'Chains'. The book Chains was more about the life of Isabel and how she met Curzon but Forge was all about what Curzon did after he parted with Isabel. Curzon found himself joining the army as a 'soldier', eating food that tasted like bricks and coal, getting beat up by some 'bullies', finding himself back as a house slave to his old master Mr.Bellingham, and reuniting with Isabel without intending to. I liked this book and it was quite interesting to So this was the book that continued after 'Chains'. The book Chains was more about the life of Isabel and how she met Curzon but Forge was all about what Curzon did after he parted with Isabel. Curzon found himself joining the army as a 'soldier', eating food that tasted like bricks and coal, getting beat up by some 'bullies', finding himself back as a house slave to his old master Mr.Bellingham, and reuniting with Isabel without intending to. I liked this book and it was quite interesting to read Curzon's perspective of the whole story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Roberts

    I enjoyed reading the second book of this series. I was able to pick out the historical facts easily. The main idea of this story is slavery. I enjoy this topic because I want to be aware of it, I want to feel how they felt throught this time period and what they had to go throughto succed through life. This series touches my heart beucase it shows two young children trying to find thier way out of slavery. It has showed to me that there are hopes and dreams in this world you just have to find I enjoyed reading the second book of this series. I was able to pick out the historical facts easily. The main idea of this story is slavery. I enjoy this topic because I want to be aware of it, I want to feel how they felt throught this time period and what they had to go throughto succed through life. This series touches my heart beucase it shows two young children trying to find thier way out of slavery. It has showed to me that there are hopes and dreams in this world you just have to find them. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    The books name is Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson. The book is a sequel to Chains. I liked this book, but it had too little involvement with Curzons army friends. I feel as if the book ended very abruptly but that thought goes away when I found out that there is a sequel to this book called Ashes. I think that in the book there should have been more battles because of the Revolutionary War. I also believe that it could have been a longer book with more details. Some details could be letters or The book’s name is Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson. The book is a sequel to Chains. I liked this book, but it had too little involvement with Curzon’s army friends. I feel as if the book ended very abruptly but that thought goes away when I found out that there is a sequel to this book called Ashes. I think that in the book there should have been more battles because of the Revolutionary War. I also believe that it could have been a longer book with more details. Some details could be letters or camping sites. Separated from his best friend Isabel after their escape from slavery, a 15 year old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge until he and Isabel are forced together again, to be slaves once more at Valley Forge.

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