Reviewed by Brett Fragosa, grade 9
The Merchant of Death
In D.J. Machale’s 10-book Pendragon series, The Merchant of Death is the first book. This sci-fi/ fantasy will have you intrigued within the first few chapters of its 372 pages. The plot revolves around a 14-year-old Bobby Pendragon, who used to live a normal life with his friend Mark Diamond and girlfriend Courtney Chetwynde. It begins when he goes on a trip with his mysterious Uncle Press to an abandoned train station. There they are met by another strange and malevolent figure known as Saint Dane. They escape from him and enter a small room on the railway tracks. There, Bobby is whisked away in a brilliant light to an unknown territory named Denduron. Once he arrives with his uncle, Press is captured. Bobby meets new people of the Milago, a mining village. He makes friends with Osa, a kind older woman, and Loor, a feisty rough and tough girl. With their help, Bobby and Press must stop a war that is to be fought with a very deadly weapon, and to counter the evil known as Saint Dane.
I personally would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy books. This book is probably about a sixth-grade reading level, even though I was able to read it in the third grade with minor difficulties. To me the Pendragon series will always be my favorite, and it was because this book sparked my interest with its great plot and character development, especially with Bobby having to deal with the fact that this is now his life. The cover is not terrible, but from a glance it lacks interest. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5. Not my favorite of the series but definitely worth reading.
The Lost City of Faar
The Lost City of Faar is the second book of D.J. MacHale’s series. It is an excellent sequel to its predecessor. It continues with the same fantastic fantasy genre. At a not-too-long 385 pages, it makes good use of every page with every thrilling detail.
This time around, after his first adventure on Denduron, Bobby Pendragon heads home, only to find that his existence has been completely wiped away. He learns more about this higher power called Halla, but not without infinitely more questions. Bobby and Press then head to a new territory known as Cloral, an ocean world with floating cities called habitats (very similar to Water World). Here they meet new allies, and once again encounter the demon, Saint Dane. It is up to the so-called Travelers to beat this man and save all of the territories.
If you enjoyed the first book you are sure to love this one. With the right amount of action and even political reasoning, this book is sure to please anyone with a liking for fantasy novels. Like the one before, this is also at about a sixth grade reading level. I’ve always enjoyed books like this where the world is covered in water and only floating cities have made it to see the future. This time the cover has a little more depth to it, and I quite like it. I would rate this book a solid 4 out of 5. Not the best, but definitely great.
The Never War
With the third installment of the Pendragon series, D.J. MacHale has yet to disappoint. The Never War takes a drastic turn from Sci-Fi fantasy to alternative history/time travel. However, it is still a great read. Taking place after the events of the second book, Bobby Pendragon and the Traveler from Cloral, Vo Spader, must head to First Earth, where Saint Dane is. First Earth is just Earth, but in 1937. While there, Bobby makes new friends, including the Traveler from First and Third Earth, and even a pilot for the coast guard. The Travelers must stop Saint Dane in his sinister plot to destroy Halla. Is it possible to stop as dramatic an event as World War II?
This time around D.J. MacHale gives this novel a good change of pace, from fantasy to historical fiction. If you read the last two, this is worth reading, even though it is quite different. Also, unlike the last two, this is about a seventh grade reading level. I don’t think is that outstanding of a novel, but it is by no means a bad one. The cover is about average. If you were to just look at it, nothing would stand out. I rate this book a 4 out of 5. Far from my favorite, but still good.