Thursday, January 29, 2015

Shelf Life [kids]

Sky RaidersSky Raiders by Brandon Mull, 421 pages.
@SPL: J FIC Mull

At a party held in the haunted house on Wilson Street, sixth-grader Cole Randolph’s friends are suddenly whisked away through a mysterious passage leading down from the basement. Cole follows and finds himself in an entirely different dimension, known as the “Outskirts”.

Composed of five kingdoms, The Outskirts is an amazing but perilous world. Led by the tyrannical, power-hungry High Shaper, slave traders are kidnapping kids from earth and taking them to The Outskirts to be sold into slavery. Cole discovers that this is what has happened to his friends.

Then Cole is captured. Sold to the Sky Raiders, who live on the edge of the world and plunder cloud castles in the Outskirts for treasure, he is marked to be their scout - an extremely dangerous job. When he meets Mira, a slave girl with a mysterious past, they make plans to rescue his friends, knowing that it will be a daunting task.

At the conclusion of Sky Raiders, readers will definitely want to continue with the second book in the Five Kingdoms series to see what happens to Cole and his friends. (Please see the next review.)

** Recommended for ages 9 to 13 years.

Rogue KnightRogue Knight by Brandon Mull, 480 pages.
@SPL:  J FIC Mull

What Cole Randolph really wants to do is to return to earth, but in the second Five Kingdoms story, he is still in the alternate world of The Outskirts (to which he travelled through a portal in Sky Raiders).  He isn’t alone – his friends Joe, Twitch, Jace and Mira are there too.

They must first rescue Mira’s sister, who is trapped in the kingdom of Elloweer.  En route, they are stopped by two mysterious riders with whom they must fight a fierce battle to save themselves. After that, the friends face danger at every turn – but none as treacherous as that posed by the mysterious Rogue Knight. What is the Knight’s true identity?  Who created him … and what does he really want? Again, Cole and his friends must fight for their lives – as well as the safety of the kingdoms. 

Incorporating various elements of Brandon Mull’s popular Fablehaven series and his Beyonders trilogy, the Five Kingdoms fantasy adventures are thoroughly suspenseful and imaginative, and they are sure to solidify the author’s following among his fans. Just as Cole and his friends were pulled into the portal to the Outskirts, readers will be pulled into the action and fantasy of the Five Kingdoms world and its wondrous creatures. Mull, who has been described as “a wizard with words”, plans to write a total of six books in this series. 

** Recommended for ages 9 to 13 years.
These reviews appear in the Stratford Gazette. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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