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Book Review: Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

March 14, 2017

Title: Dragonwatch

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Fablehaven #6

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

Release Date: March 14, 2017

The Overview: In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power. No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help. As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities. How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it? -Goodreads

The Review:

I am a HUGE Fablehaven fan, considering it my all-time favorite middle grade series (aside from Harry Potter – the untouchable). I loved it for its fun storyline, boundless surprises, and sense of wonder. If you’d asked me which element of Fablehaven I’d wanted to read more about, the dragon sanctuary would have been my pick, hands down. Not only was it a magical place to visit, but I thought Mull had only scratched the surface of what it had to offer. I was thrilled when Dragonwatch was announced!

Before diving in, I’d been under the impression that Dragonwatch was going to be a true spinoff with new characters and everything. But it isn’t a spinoff… IT’S A CONTINUATION!!! Taking place right where Kendra and Seth left off their adventures in Keys to the Demon Prison (Book #5). Reading about these characters again felt like coming home. I remembered how sad I was when the original series ended, so Dragonwatch was a special treat for sure – and there’s more to come!

The best part of this novel for me were the dragons – I loved the different varieties and personalities, and think we’ll only get more detail as the series continues. There was also a fun adventure that included lots of creative obstacles for the characters to figure out and overcome. The plot was well constructed, but I don’t think that was completely evident from the beginning. The first third of the book, while immersed in Fablehaven awesomeness, took a long time to get to the selling point of the novel – the dragon sanctuary. While I enjoyed every moment, I can’t help but wonder if I would have enjoyed it a mite more had it moved along a bit quicker.

Overall, I’m excited for more adventures in this world and can’t wait for the next book!

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and Brandon Mull for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of Dragonwatch.

Other books you might like:

 by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

March 14, 2017

Title: Dragonwatch

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Fablehaven #6

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: March 14, 2017

The Overview: In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power. No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help. As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities. How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it? -Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

I LOVED Fablehaven, and if you’d asked me which element of the whole series I’d like to see expanded on, I would’ve shouted “The Dragon Sanctuary!!” From the rooftops. Therefore, I am SO FREAKING EXCITED that my wish is coming true! This spinoff/continuation series is going to be amazing and I can’t wait!

What book are you waiting on?

 by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: The Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull

the rogue knightTitle: The Rogue Knight

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Five Kingdoms #2

Genre: Middle Grade

Release Date: October 21, 2014

The Overview: Cole Randolph never meant to come to The Outskirts, but when his friends were kidnapped on Halloween he had to try and save them. Now he is trapped in a world that lies between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. Cole’s in search for his friends has led him to Elloweer, another of the five kingdoms that make up The Outskirts. He is accompanied by Mira, Twitch, and Jace; new friends he’s met here in the Outskirts who each have their own important missions. The group is following news that Mira’s sister, Honor, could be in danger. However, Cole and Mira are soon the ones facing direct threat, and must resort to a fascinating new kind of magic to protect themselves. Their journey brings them across familiar faces, some more welcome than others, until their paths ultimately cross with the infamous man known throughout Elloweer as the Rogue Knight. Will he turn out to be an unstoppable enemy, or a key ally? Every move is filled with danger as Cole and his new friends try and outwit the High King, who will stop at nothing to regain what he has lost.

the rogue knight 2

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Aside from Harry Potter, Fablehaven is easily my favorite middle grade series. I’ve read the books more times than I can count. Since the final book was released, I’ve since gone out and read the Candy Shop War (which I liked), Beyonders (which I did not like), Wild Born (cool!), and Sky Raiders (which is easily my favorite series since Fablehaven). So, even though Beyonders was kind of a disappointment, I’m grateful for this new series – it has me fired up about Mull all over again. I was lucky enough to chat with him for a moment at a book signing and to hear him talk about the “awesome stuff you haven’t even seen yet” coming up in the Five Kingdom series has me pumped!

 As a side note, he also mentioned that after finishing the series he will be working on a spin off of Fablehaven featuring the dragon sanctuaries prominent in book 4!!!!! I am fricken stoked.

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

sky raidersTitle: Sky Raiders

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Five Kingdoms #1

Genre: Middle Grade

Release Date: March 11, 2013

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The OverviewCole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level. After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them and ends up in The Outskirts.

The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. Its an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds. And once you come to the Outskirts, its very hard to leave. With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, its up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home before his existence is forgotten.

sky raiders

The Review:

What a fun new series from Brandon Mull! Sky Raiders had everything I’ve come to expect from this author: truckloads of imagination, epic adventures, and characters who are so relatable they take you back to your childhood. Aside from JK Rowling, Mull is definitely my favorite middle grade author and I’m excited to see every new book from him get stronger and stronger.

As an adult, I definitely enjoyed Sky Raiders because the kids were quick-witted and the overall plot was complex enough to keep me engaged. It’s one of those books that gets interesting right away and really doesn’t let up until the end – perfect for kids who have a difficult time focusing long enough to read. While Fablehaven will always be my all time favorite from Mull, I’m thrilled that I now have another solid story to hand to kids looking for next great read.

As I’ve mentioned, Mull always has a great deal of imagination in the books he writes. I have found that, especially in children’s books, too much imagination can make the story a little too far-fetched and silly for my tastes. In this case, however, Mull created a new world where wacky, random things can be made real through a particular magic called “shaping.” Because this world had a solid set of rules, all the fantastical creations became feasible even if they were sometimes a bit random. Was it still a bit too much? For me, maybe a little; for a  ten-year-old (i.e. the target audience) it was perfect.

Overall, I really enjoyed Sky Raiders – it had many neat elements that I’m sure we’ve only scratched the surface of at this point. It’s one of the main reasons I’m eager to read on in this series – I can’t wait to find out more about the Five Kingdoms!

Recommended Reading: I would be eager hand this book to any kid who enjoys books with magic – especially ones who loved the Beyonders series by the same author. It’s definitely geared towards a younger audience, so I would probably only hand it to an adult if they mention they like middle grade titles.

Other books you might like:

Thank you Edelweiss for the chance to read and review this title!

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

sky raidersTitle: Sky Raiders

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Five Kingdoms #1

Genre: Middle Grade

Release Date: March 11, 2013

The OverviewCole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level. After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them and ends up in The Outskirts.

The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. Its an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds. And once you come to the Outskirts, its very hard to leave. With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, its up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home before his existence is forgotten.

sky raiders 2

 Hosted by Breaking the Spine

  If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you are probably sick of hearing how much I love Brandon Mull (my favorite kids author since J.K. Rowling). His books never fail to make me feel like a kid again and are written on a level that even adults can appreciate. Sky Raiders is the first book in his latest series, and I remember reading that he thinks it’s the best book he’s written yet – so of course I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

September 10, 2013

September 10, 2013

Title: Wild Born

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Spirits Animals #1

Genre: Middle Grade

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Overview: Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts – a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed for ever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers …and on you.

9:10 mull

The Review:

I want to start off by saying I love this author. He perfectly encapsulates the wonders of fantasy while reminding us how much fun it was to be a kid. He manages to do both of these things without sacrificing the quality of his writing (which keeps adult readers engaged and gives a healthy challenge to the younger ones). I am a huge sucker for fantasy books involving animals – after all, it was the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate and the Redwall series by Brian Jacques that initially sparked my love of reading. So the idea of having my favorite kids author (aside from JK Rowling) tackle an animal story was the best news ever.

I was anticipating a robust, full-length novel… what I got was something slightly different. Turns out, it’s the first installment of a multi-platform series, sort of like The 39 Clues and The Infinity Ring. Brandon Mull wrote this first book and outlined the next five books, but other authors will tell those tales. While cool in its own right, it’s not exactly what I had in mind.

Even though it was different than I’d hoped, it was still a dang good (albeit quick) read. I especially loved the diverse range of characters – there was someone for everyone to root for, giving it a sort of global appeal. All the characters had compelling individual stories but also played really well off of one another – they were my favorite components in the book, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where their journey take them next.

The magic system was also a strong point – I love the magic involved with getting a spirit animal and the benefits that came from having one. The concept was just plain fun. Because it’s a multi platform book, you can read it then go join the adventure online – earning a Spirit Animal for yourself as you help recover the hidden talismans. Sounds like fun, right? I’m probably going to sign in just to see what my animal would be…

Overall, Wild Born was a great adventure that started out with a bang and didn’t let up the entire way through.

Recommended Reading: for those looking for fantasy adventure, excitement, and a whole lot of animal awesomeness! And, of course, for fans of Brandon Mull.

by Niki Hawkes

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