I have been a loyal fan of the Starcathers series since discovering the books five years ago. I dived into every one even reading the Neverland "Short Stories" and the Kingdom Keepers series because of Ridley Pearson. Upon reading "Bridge" I was immediatly dissapointed. First of all the writting style had changed. The phraseology, the flow, the whole "feel" of the book was different. It resembled the Kingdom Keepers series much more than the previous four Starcatcher books. It is not just the fact that the story no longer takes place in the distant past, it's that the attitudes, motivations, and demeanor, of the Starcatchers, and Neverland Inhabitants seemed to change. The young people of the story, the lead characters, are annoying at times, and there is little reason given for liking either of them. In fact the authors (or author as I suspect, more on that later)seem to take so much time describing their weaknesses that we have little motivation for coming around to them at the end or actually wanting them to win. Peter a fun loving brash boy of the Starcatcher series turned into the self serving Peter of the origianl Berrie books. This is a change consistant for those who would love the Starcatcher series to stay true to the original work but not consistant with the Starcatcher series. Hook in this tale is treated more like the bumbling cartoonish Disney version than the sly "Black Stache" of the Starcather series. Another let down is the fact that we meet zero new villains. Every book thus far has given us a cavalcade of fun, unique, and nefarious, characters to compliment the likes of Hook, not here. In every book there are multiple plots going on weaving together, in "Bridge" all the characters are on the same "stage at one time" it is a very streamlined plot.
Without revealing anything about the plot, if you are a fan of the books you will find that "Bridge" is okay, just okay. There are some very creative elements. There is a dash of historical fiction, and there are some moments where you get really nervous for the characters. However it is not good enough and is not what I have come to expect of this series. I did not care for the characters, I did not like the "feel". And although simply a matter of prefrence, I wish they had not brought the story into the 2000's... All this being said, the book provided enough intrigue that I finished it with a smile.
I suspect, and I may be way off base, that Dave Barry had less to do with this story than the other four. This book felt like another installment of the Kingdom Keepers for the first 3/5 and then a quick Neverland tale is thrown in at the end. The Kingdom Keepers series was almost unreadable, for me, after the first book. I hope this is not the direction of the series from here on out.
On a side note, and I do not want to sound like I am just picking out things to be critical but this really bothered me. As one reviewer mentioned in a review, I am not sure why the author felt like the characters had to use the word "God" so often. This is very offensive to people from many religious backgrounds.
I hope the series continues, but I would like for it to go back to being more like a Starcatcher book, than Kingdom Keepoers.