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D.J. MacHale

book review D.J. MacHale Pendragon(1956- )
D.J. MacHale was born on March 11, 1956 in Greenwich, Connecticut. While in school, he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm, engraving sports trophies and washing dishes in a steakhouse… in between playing football and running track. Upon graduation, MacHale attended New York University and got a BFA in film production. He never enjoyed writing until college, where his screenwriting teacher (Pat Cooper) changed his outlook. Read excerpts of MacHale’s novels at the Pendragon website.

Pendragon

Pendragon — (2002-2009) Young adult. Publisher: Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy. He has a family, a home, and even Marley, his beloved dog. But there is something very special about Bobby. He is going to save the world. And not just Earth as we know it. Bobby is slowly starting to realize that life in the cosmos isn’t quite what he thought it was. And before he can object, he is swept off to an alternate dimension known as Denduron, a territory inhabited by strange beings, ruled by a magical tyrant, and plagued by dangerous revolution. If Bobby wants to see his family again, he’s going to have to accept his role as savior, and accept it wholeheartedly. Because, as he is about to discover, Denduron is only the beginning…

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Pendragon: Before the War — (2008- ) A Pendragon prequel with Carla Jablonski and Walter Sorrells. Publisher: Before Bobby Pendragon. Before Saint Dane. Before the war… Every territory of Halla has a Traveler. They lived for years — some even for decades — before learning of their true destiny. What was life like for Bobby Pendragon’s fellow Travelers before they joined him in the fight to save every time and place that has ever existed? What led up to their becoming the guardians of Halla? The answers are here! In this first of three thrilling Pendragon prequels, read about Vo Spader’s death-defying adventures in the underwater world of Cloral, Gunny Van Dyke’s race to find a murderer in 1930’s Manhattan on First Earth, and the tough challenges Kasha faced on Eelong well before Bobby Pendragon arrived…

D.J. MacHale Pendragon: Before the War 1. The Travelers 2. 3. D.J. MacHale Pendragon: Before the War 1. The Travelers 2. 3. D.J. MacHale Pendragon: Before the War 1. The Travelers 2. 3.

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book review D.J. MacHale The Guide to the Territories of Hallafantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Guide to the Territories of Halla — (2005) Publisher: All there ever was; all that will be. For the first time, see the amazing sights of Halla as only Bobby Pendragon has. From the watery depths of Cloral to the rugged mountain ranges of Denduron to the jungles of Eelong, from the Earth territories to the decaying fantasy world of Veelox, it¹s all here. So are the Travelers: Uncle Press, Vo Spader, Loor, Aja Killian, Alder, Gunny, and Kasha, and of course, Bobby Pendragon and Saint Dane. This is your private flume to Halla. Enter and discover old friends while you learn new secrets. But remember one thing: This is only the beginning.

The Merchant of Death: Perfect for a 14 year old boy

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The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale

Bobby Pendragon is a normal middle-school kid and life is good. He’s the most valuable player on the basketball team and he’s just found out that Courtney, the girl he’s had a crush on for years, has a crush on him, too! Life could not be better... until Uncle Press arrives while Bobby is kissing Courtney and drags Bobby away to a medieval world where some oppressed people need Bobby’s help. For Bobby has special powers and: A Destiny! When Bobby disappears, Courtney and Mark, Bobby’s best friend, get worried and start investigating. They can’t find Bobby, but they do receive a letter from him which details all that’s happening to Bobby in Denduron.

The Merchant of Death is the first novel in D.J. MacHale’s young adult PENDRAGON series. It’s fast-paced and exciting, it has a likabl... Read More

The Lost City of Faar: An underwater adventure for Bobby Pendragon

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The Lost City of Faar by D.J. MacHale

Note: The first paragraph of this review contains minor spoilers for The Merchant of Death.

The Lost City of Faar is the second novel in D.J. MacHale’s popular 10-book PENDRAGON series for teens. In the first book, The Merchant of Death, 14-year old Bobby Pendragon discovered that he is a Traveler — a person who represents a planet and is able to travel through space and time to visit other worlds. The Travelers are trying to stop an evil shapeshifter named Saint Dane from creating chaos in Halla, which consists of everything that exists in all times and places. In that first book, Bobby saved a world called Denduron. When he arrived back on Earth, he found that his family had ceas... Read More

The Never War: Subtle teaching moments and a real emotional impact

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The Never War by D.J. MacHale

Note: Contains spoilers for previous PENDRAGON novels.

In The Never War, the third book in D.J. MacHale’s PENDRAGON series, Bobby is now 15 years old and is gaining experience as a Traveler. His job is to protect Earth and other territories of Halla (which includes all peoples, places, and times that have ever existed) from Saint Dane, the super duper evil villain whose goal is to increase chaos everywhere. Somehow, the chaos gives him power.

By the end of book two, The Lost City of Faar, Bobby has successfully foiled Saint Dane’s attempts to throw the territories of Denduron and Cloral into chaos. Now he and Spader, the Traveler from Cloral, are following Saint Dane... Read More

The Reality Bug: Metaphysics for kids

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The Reality Bug by D.J. MacHale

The Reality Bug is the fourth novel in D.J. MacHale’s 10-book PENDRAGON series for teens. In each novel, young Bobby Pendragon, a Traveler, visits a different “territory” (world) where he tries to prevent Saint Dane, the evil villain, from causing enough chaos to completely destroy the multiverse.

This time Bobby is summoned to the territory of Veelox, which seems peaceful at first. Then he learns that Veelox is quiet because 90% of its population is plugged into a computer simulation that allows them to control and play out all their fantasies. (Don’t worry. This is a book for kids, so these fantasies are all totally, if unrealistically, G-rated.) While people are in the virtual reality, their bodies are monitored and fed as needed. With most of the population of the planet being entertained 24 hours per ... Read More

Black Water: The plot suffers for the sake of the Message

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Black Water by D.J. MacHale

In Black Water, the fifth book in D.J. MacHale’s PENDRAGON series, the rules seem to be changing. All the things we thought we knew about how the flumes, the territories, the Travelers, and the acolytes work are different. Saint Dane, the villain, has brought that deadly poison he used on Cloral (in The Lost City of Faar) through the flume to use in the beautiful but dangerous territory of Eelong. Bobby Pendragon figures that if Saint Dane has broken the rules, so can he. And so do his friends Mark and Courtney who finally decide to dive into the flume and see what happens. I expect that most fans will be thrilled to see Mark and Courtney in action. Unfortunately, Bobby and his friends will soon find out that breaking the rules sometimes has really bad consequences.

Poison isn’t the only ... Read More

The Rivers of Zadaa: MacHale gets this series back on track

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The Rivers of Zadaa by D.J. MacHale

With The Rivers of Zadaa, the sixth book in his PENDRAGON series for young adults, D.J. MacHale gets the series back on track after a disappointingly preachy fifth book. If you haven’t read the previous books, but plan to, I advise you to read no further in this review. It’s impossible to talk about The Rivers of Zadaa without spoiling some of the plot of the previous books.

This time Bobby and Saint Dane are battling it out on Zadaa, Loor’s home planet. Saint Dane is trying to trigger chaos by causing strife between the territory’s two main tribes, the Rokador and the Batu. The Batu, the tribe to which Loor belongs, live on the sunny surface of the planet while the Rokador live in tunnels underground. The tribes used to have a synergistic relationship, but now they are on the... Read More

The Quillan Games: Another exciting PENDRAGON story

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The Quillan Games by D.J. MacHale

The Quillan Games is the seventh novel in D.J. MacHale’s PENDRAGON series. Bobby is now on Quillan, one of the most unappealing places we’ve been to so far. Here a large corporation called BLOK (think Wal-Mart) has price-busted everyone else out of business until BLOK basically owns and operates the entire territory. Everyone is poor (BLOK pays low wages) and they are merely surviving. But there is a way to get money. Kids who are willing to risk it, or who are sold off by their families, can play the Quillan Games. They live in a mansion and are treated like royalty... as long as they keep winning. The games are often deadly and eventually, if they keep winning, they’re bound to end up in a fight to the death.

The rest of the populace bets on the games, hoping to supplement their tiny incomes. They watch ... Read More

The Pilgrims of Rayne: The stakes are high

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The Pilgrims of Rayne by D.J. MacHale

The Pilgrims of Rayne is the eighth book in D.J. MacHale’s PENDRAGON series for young adults. I’ll assume that if you’re reading a review for book eight, you realize that I’ll probably be spoiling some of the plots of the previous books here.

Bobby has now Traveled to Saint Dane’s next stop: a tropical island paradise called Ibara. At first Ibara seems like an ideal place to live, but soon, as you expected, Bobby realizes that Ibara is at a tipping point. Everyone is happy on Ibara, but they’re not allowed to leave. What lies beyond the island paradise? A few curious and disgruntled citizens would like to know, and one of those is the son of Ibara’s Traveler, a guy who was killed in the Quillan Games we read about in the previous book. When Bobby Pendragon teams up with these outlaws, they make... Read More

Raven Rise: Sloppy plot, but I read on

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Raven Rise by D.J. MacHale

Raven Rise is the penultimate novel in D.J. MacHale’s PENDRAGON series. (Expect spoilers for previous PENDRAGON books in this review.) At the end of the last book, The Pilgrims of Rayne, Bobby destroyed the flume on Ibara, trapping himself and Saint Dane on that territory. Now Bobby can never go home, but at least Saint Dane will not be able to destroy the rest of Halla. Or so Bobby thinks. Saint Dane is trying, as we knew he would, to find a way off of Ibara.

Meanwhile, the “Convergence” that Saint Dane keeps monologuing about has finally begun. Every territory is in turmoil. The territories have regressed so much that it’s as if all the work that Bobby and the Travelers did in t... Read More

The Soldiers of Halla: Finally, some answers!

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The Soldiers of Halla by D.J. MacHale

It’s been a few years since Bobby Pendragon first found out he was a Traveler. He’s been all over the territories of Halla, trying to thwart Saint Dane’s plans to throw all of Halla into chaos. Now the final battle is here. Can Bobby and his friends kill Saint Dane, or will all of Halla be forced to live in the terrible universe he has created?

The Soldiers of Halla, the final PENDRAGON book by D.J. MacHale, begins with Bobby learning who he is, where he came from, and what happened to his family — all in one huge infodump. I’m not sure why Bobby couldn’t know these things before... (Well, actually, I do know why — it’s because MacHale likes to withhold information for dramatic effect, even if it doesn... Read More

Morpheus Road

Morpheus Road — (2009-2012) Ages 9-12. Publisher: #1 NYT bestselling author D.J. MacHale’s Morpheus Road trilogy brings readers down an ethereal pathway between the worlds of the living and dead.

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Morpheus Road, The Light: Winning voice makes up for some plot issues

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Morpheus Road: The Light by D.J. MacHale

Morpheus Road: The Light by D.J. MacHale is the first book in a projected YA horror trilogy, focused on young Marshall Seaver, who is being haunted by his own artistic creation, a creepily menacing character he calls Gravedigger.

The story is a fast-paced read, though it gets off to a somewhat slow start as we’re introduced to the main character and his best friend Cooper. The two have one of those awkwardly painful adolescent friendships where one has leapt full-heartedly into the young adult world (Cooper) and the other is still staying safe on the outer edges of childhood (Marshall). Unfortunately, Cooper’s jump into near-adulthood has landed him in trouble, and as a consequence, his parents have decided to remove him from bad influences by taking him to their lake cottage for the summer. This rui... Read More

More speculative fiction by D.J. MacHale

Sylo — (2013-2014) Publisher: The ultimate action-fueled end-of-the-world conspiracy trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale. THEY CAME FROM THE SKY parachuting out of military helicopters to invade Tucker Pierce’s idyllic hometown on Pemberwick Island, Maine. They call themselves SYLO and they are a secret branch of the U.S. Navy. SYLO’s commander, Captain Granger, informs Pemberwick residents that the island has been hit by a lethal virus and must be quarantined. Now Pemberwick is cut off from the outside world. Tucker believes there’s more to SYLO’s story. He was on the sidelines when the high school running back dropped dead with no warning. He saw the bizarre midnight explosion over the ocean, and the mysterious singing aircraft that travel like shadows through the night sky. He tasted the Ruby — and experienced the powers it gave him — for himself. What all this means, SYLO isn’t saying. Only Tucker holds the clues that can solve this deadly mystery. LOOK TO THE SKY because Pemberwick is only the first stop.

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