If you didn't read Chains, I definitely recommend running out right now and buying/borrowing it. Like RIGHT now. However, even if you haven't had the chance to read it, you can still read Forge without a problem. More of a companion than a sequel, Forge follows Curzon, the boy Isabel freed from slavery in Chains, as he joins up with the Patriots and begins to fight a long, sad war, while trying to also keep his slave status quiet.
Spending a horribly long winter in Valley Forge and battling against the British at Saratoga, Curzon's story has amazing historical information, mixed perfectly with a young man's feelings and emotions regarding life, war, friendships, and women (namely, Isabel). The conditions endured by the soldiers were horrific and something I wasn't previously aware of before reading the story. So intense, yet SO educational.
I really enjoyed Curzon's story and couldn't wait until Isabel came back on scene. She's one of the fiestiest historical characters I've ever come across and with Curzon, Laurie Halse Anderson was able to create her perfect counterpart. I was really glad that Forge was told through Curzon's eyes, so those readers that DID read Chains would have another perspective on everything that previously happened between Isabel and Curzon.
Kids interested in history will definitely be all over this book, but even those that aren't too sure about historical fiction will enjoy the intensity, the fast pacing, the amazing character development, and the truly interesting and exciting plot. I can see this (and Chains) being used in classrooms as learning tools. Ms. Anderson, please write faster!
Laurie Halse Anderson
Review copy provided by publisher