Ben Braver and the Vortex of Doom by Marcus Emerson

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The Super Life of Ben Braver book 3. Allen and Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760631703. 320pp.
(Ages 7-10). Recommended. A funny, fast-paced adventure that will appeal to many middle Primary readers especially those who have read Emerson's other series, Diary of a 6th grade ninja. This is the third book in a series which started with The super life of Ben Braver and then Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding kid. The book begins with a brief explanation of who Ben Braver is and how he came to be at a school for children, who all have superpowers, when he is just an ordinary kid and it all has to do with time-travel. The story revolves around an attack of the school by some ex-students who believe they have been abandoned and ignored by the school after they graduate. They are determined to kidnap and kill the Founder of the school, Donald Kepler, and they will destroy the world to try to do it.
After the introductory chapter the story becomes quite complicated as the characters go back and forth through time to the 'Outside' and to different times in their lives to work out ways to save Kepler and the world. Ben teams up with a misunderstood alien and although he finally has superpowers Ben's encounter with a very kind Super-hero on the streets teaches him that having superpowers is not as straight forward as he first thought. His relationship with the other characters is tested and he begins to appreciate how important teamwork is when solving problems.
There were elements of the story where reading the other books would have helped in understanding all that was going on, so I would recommend reading these books in sequence. The illustrations and small cartoons scattered through the story were very well done and enhanced my understanding of the plot very well. Themes: Time-travel, Courage, Heroes, Villains, Boarding schools.
Gabrielle Anderson