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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: The Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris

Inventor's secretTitle: The Inventor’s Secret

Author: Chad Morris

Series: Cragbridge Hall #1

Genre: Middle Grade

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don’t read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn’t around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar. Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world. Twin siblings Abby and Derick Cragbridge are excited as new students to use their famed grandfather’s inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins begin following a trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who they can trust, and discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall. Abby and Derick soon realize they are caught in a race with a fierce adversary to discover their grandfather’s greatest secret–a dangerous discovery that could alter both history and reality.

Inventor's secret 2

The Review:

There came a point in my life where I realized I just wasn’t enjoying middle grade books as much as I used to. It was a horrifying discovery because, after all, these were the titles I grew up on – the very genre that nurtured my love of reading. Nowadays, it takes a remarkable-sounding novel to even get me interested. The Inventor’s Secret was among those exceptions.

It had all of the adventure I was hoping for, but also had some other cool, unexpected elements. For one, there was an overall mystery that held some appeal for my adult tastes: Abby and Derick had to solve a series of clues left by their grandfather to figure out what happened to both him and their parents. Combine the puzzle-solving tasks with some really neat classroom challenges, and I was sold. Those challenges even reminded me of the obstacles Harry Potter faced while going after the Sorcerer’s Stone… Resonance.

The Inventor’s Secret also introduced something that gives my inner child a major geek-out: ANIMAL AVATARS!!! How cool is that? I always love books that incorporate wildlife, and the unique presentation of this concept is what initially drew me to the book. Essentially, these kids are hooked up to a computer that transfers their minds over to mechanical animals (oh, how I wish I was a student at this school). This element reminded me of the Animorphs series by Applegate, which gets extra credit for sparking my love of reading when I was ten… More resonance.

As much as I love mystery, adventure, and animal avatars, I also love when I feel like I’ve learned something from a book (be it potion-making, science, basket weaving, whatever!). I liked this one, especially because it took an ordinary school subject, history, and made it fun! The classrooms were equipped with virtual projectors that surrounded the students with scenes from the past, essentially making them part of the action. Morris made history come alive while simultaneously making me want to learn more about each event (I don’t know exactly how accurate the references were, but I imagine they were well researched). Add all of that awesomeness to some good old time-travel, and the possibilities are endless.

You can see how many great elements this book brought to the table. There was honestly nothing I didn’t like about it. The writing was geared more towards younger readers than Fablehaven or Harry Potter, but not by much. All in all, I highly recommend this title and am excited for the sequel.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Top Ten Gateway Books of My Reading Journey!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I was really excited for this week’s TTT because it allows me to pay homage to the books that sparked my love of speculative fiction (and reading in general)! Each of these titles introduced me to their relative genres, and to this day, many of them remain my #1 in those categories.

The Top Ten Gateway Books of My Reading Journey!

And the book that started it all:

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 Many of these have a special place in my heart because I would not be the reader I am today without them.

What book sparked your love of reading?

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Sky Jumpers: The Forbidden Flats by Peggy Eddelman

forbidden flatsTitle: Sky Jumpers:  The Forbidden Flats

Author: Peggy Eddelman

Series: Sky Jumpers #2

Genre: Middle Grade

Release Date: September 2, 2014

The Overview: Twelve-year-old Hope has always felt a little different from everyone else who lives in White Rock. She tries hard, but she doesn’t always think before she acts. She takes big risks. Sometimes her risks pay off, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes she fails. Hope knows that the most dangerous thing about living in White Rock is that it’s so close to the deadly Bomb’s Breath—the invisible, fifteen-foot-thick band of compressed air that’s hovered over the earth since the Green Bombs of World War III. The citizens of White Rock live in fear of the Bomb’s Breath. Only Hope has figured out a way to go through it—and lived to tell the tale. But when a massive tremor rips across the earth, the Bomb’s Breath begins to lower over White Rock. It’s up to Hope and her friends Brock and Aaren to make the dangerous journey far from home across the bandit-ridden Forbidden Flats to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains and obtain the one thing that may be able to stop it—before the Bomb’s Breath sinks too far and destroys them all. This time, Hope can’t fail.

forbidden flats

 Hosted by Breaking the Spine

 I thought the first book in this series (Sky Jumpers) was a fun story with great characters and a cool atmosphere. I’m predicting that Sky Jumpers: The Forbidden Flat will be even better than the first book because now that the world is established there is nothing left but to explore it!  I am super excited to see how the story continues and think Eddelman is a strong addition to the middle grade market.

 What book are you waiting on? Have you read Sky Jumpers yet?

by Niki Hawkes