Book Review: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale

merchant_of_deathBobby Pendragon was a popular, athletic 14 year old boy in middle school. He had it all– until one night when his amazing relative, Uncle Press, takes him on a trip he’ll never forget.

They take a motorcycle ride to a closed down subway station and after having a close encounter with an evil, shape-shifting man known by the name Saint Dane, get to a magical gateway that takes people through time, place, and dimensions called a flume. They go through it into a place called Denduron and in the first few minutes get attacked by monstrous beasts called quigs, get Uncle Press captured, and nearly get killed. How fun, right?

He then passes out and wakes up in a small hut to find out that their are two people living in the hut and their names are Loor (the daughter) and Osa (the mother). They explain that he is a traveler and all other travelers (including them) have the life mission of stopping the evil man, Saint Dane, from sending all of Halla (every time, place, person and thing that ever existed) into chaos and taking over. He learns that he will have to find the turning point of each territory (their are 10 in all of Halla) and make sere Saint Dane doesn’t “turn it too far” so to speak. He’s then finally told that the turning point of Denduron is going to happen soon and they need to stop it. They later find the turning point of Denduron and have to go on an amazing adventure to save the territory and Uncle Press before it is too late.

The whole series is amazing and I’d definitely recommend all ten books.\

-Solana M., 6th grade

Book Review: SYLO, by D.J. MacHale

syloSYLO is a story about an island off the east coast of the United States of America where there is supposedly a virus that leaked out.

A group of kids on the island tried to figure out what the virus is and why SYLO came. The longer SYLO stays on the island, the more suspicious the inhabitants get. Now, these kids will try to find out everything. All information will be theirs about SYLO, the mysterious Ruby, the victims of the virus, and who else is involved. As they learn more, they discover the SYLO officers contacting their parents. Once this is discovered, the kids get even more suspicious. Their limits are tested as these kids will be chased, questioned, in danger, and scared. But in the midst of all things seeming lost, there is always friendship and determination to get them through whatever task might come before them.

However, there might be obstacles that even these determined kids cannot surpass. Such as alien weaponry, and government associations that out-man, outgun, and might outwit these kids on their journey to find the truth and the lies. What is the virus? Who is SYLO? Why are their parents involved? How did the Ruby get onto their island? What are the kids going to do about everything?

All of these questions will be solved when you read SYLO.

-Kyle H., 7th grade

Book Review: The Merchant of Death, by D.J. MacHale

pendragon1_coverBobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal teenage boy living in Stony Brook, Connecticut. He has everything going for him: the girl of his dreams, good grades, and a position on the basketball team. But his life is about to be thrown upside down.

When Bobby’s Uncle Press shows up at his door and whisks him off to a flume, or a portal to different worlds, his life takes a huge turn for the worst. The next thing Bobby knows, he’s thrown into a parallel universe, fighting for his life. He comes face-to-face with monsters and despicable villains, and he also learns the true meanings of courage and sacrifice.

D.J. MacHale’s novel Pendragon: The Merchant of Death is a good example of a coming-of-age book. Bobby and his friends must learn the true meaning of friendship, loyalty, maturity, and sacrifice for the greater good. The tight bond they share is shown to be stronger than the obstacles they face. MacHale’s book delivers many messages to adolescents to help them through a difficult time in their lives and does it in a way that captures the minds of the readers and keeps their interest.

This series has many fantasy aspects to it, similar to books like Harry Potter. However, these books are shorter and written to appeal more to the teenage mind. McHale gives the readers a story where a normal teenager goes from being nothing more than an average student and star basketball player to being an important figure who has to help save not just the world, but the universe.

The reader is shown the doubt and fear Bobby faces throughout the book, and how he must grapple with the new responsibility and experiences. This shows adolescent readers that it is all right to be scared, but that doing the right thing is a part of growing up and transitioning into adulthood. This book is a must-read for any pre-teen or teenage reader who loves adventure and fantasy.

-Julia D.