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Brandon Mull

Brandon MullBrandon Mull no longer lives on the side of a mountain above a prison. He now resides in a happy little valley near the mouth of a canyon with his wife and children. Find out more at Brandon Mull’s website.
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Fablehaven: A great central concept

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Kendra and Seth have to spend 17 days with their grandparents who they barely know while their parents go on a trip. Dropped off at the huge isolated estate deep in the forest, the kids have no idea what to expect. Little did they think they would discover that their grandparents are the caretakers of a nature preserve for magical creatures of all sizes, shapes and inclinations. But now it seems that Grandma has mysteriously gone missing, and that is just the beginning of the problems the children will have to face.

Fablehaven (2006) has a great central concept — what happens when you put all the magical creatures from all over the world in a confined space, and have humans try to keep them secret from the world? This is a great idea, but it needed a better writer. The prose is serviceable, but doesn’t inspire any emotional reaction. The characters are flat and one-dimensio... Read More

Dragonwatch: Revolt of the Fablehaven dragons

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

Fans of Brandon Mull’s FABLEHAVEN middle grade fantasy series now have a chance to revisit that world with Dragonwatch (2017), the first book in his new FABLEHAVEN ADVENTURE series. In the world of FABLEHAVEN, mythical beings like fairies, centaurs, dragons and demons actually exist, living in hidden, protected sanctuaries where most humans are unaware of their existence. Even if you enter a preserve, unless you drink the milk of a magical milch cow, fairies look like dragonflies or butterflies, nipsies seem to be mice, satyrs appear as goats, and so on.

In the original FABLEHAVEN series, Kendra and her younger brother Seth helped protect their grandparents’ estate, Fablehaven, and the other sanctuaries against the e... Read More

A World Without Heroes: Appealing characters, imaginative world

A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Jason Walker, an eighth grader, was having a fairly normal day — playing baseball with his friends and working at the zoo — until he heard music coming from the hippopotamus tank. When he leaned over the rail to listen more closely, he fell in and was swallowed by the hippo. Instead of ending up in the hippo’s digestive tract, though, he ended up in a parallel universe named Lyrian. Rachel Woodford, a smart home-schooled girl around Jason’s age, was on vacation with her parents in Bryce Canyon when she followed a strange butterfly through a stone arch and ended up in Lyrian, too.

Jason and Rachel quickly meet up in this strange world and discover that they are not the first “Beyonders” to visit the place, but Beyonders have been rare since the evil emperor Maldor came to the throne. Maldor has horded all magic knowledge and is using it to terrorize his citizens. For Jason and Rachel to be abl... Read More

Seeds of Rebellion: Solid sequel

Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull

In the second BEYONDERS book, Seeds of Rebellion, Jason has made it back to his own world after attempting to destroy the emperor Maldor in Lyrian, the parallel universe he accidentally stumbled into after being swallowed by a hippopotamus at the zoo. Jason is unhappy at home because Rachel is still stuck in Lyrian and being hunted by the bad guys. After doing some research on the internet, he discovers that Rachel’s parents are desperately trying to find her, but Jason feels like he can’t contact them or he’ll be a suspect in the crime. He’s afraid to tell anyone about Lyrian — people will just think he’s crazy and he might be institutionalized. That would make it impossible for him to do what he really wants to do — go back to Lyrian, let everyone know that the quest they were on is doomed, and tell Rachel how to get back to her parents. Meanwhile, he spends plenty of time exercising so... Read More

Chasing the Prophecy: Mull doesn’t take the easy way out

Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull

Chasing the Prophecy is the final book in Brandon Mull’s BEYONDERS series aimed at a middle grade audience. Jason and Rachel have joined a group of rebels who hope to take down the evil emperor Maldor. An oracle has told them that they have very little chance for success, but she’s also told them exactly what they need to do to have that small chance. Therefore the group has split up into separate teams which hope to fulfill different parts of the oracle’s instructions. Rachel is trying to muster up an army while working on her magic and Jason’s team visits a library (I loved the library!) to try to find the location of an ancient seer who has information they need. Both kids face hard work, difficult decisions, and life-threatening circumstances. Each must be willing to bend a lot to accomplish their goals.

Readers who’ve enjoyed the first two BEYONDERS books, A... Read More

Sky Raiders: A new children’s fantasy series by Brandon Mull

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

Sky Raiders is the first book in Brandon Mull’s new FIVE KINGDOMS series for Middle Grade readers. It’s about a boy named Cole who takes his friends, including a girl he has a crush on, to a haunted house on Halloween Night. The occupants of the house lure the kids into the basement where they’re abducted, taken to another world called The Five Kingdoms, and sold into slavery.

As you might guess, Cole feels a little guilty about this. He’s determined to escape and free his friends. He outwits enemies and battles giant snakes, scorpions, and even a cyclops. Then he finds an ally in a girl named Mira, a girl from the Five Kindgoms who is also a slave. Can Cole and Mira free Cole’s friends? Can Cole get back to Earth? Well, he does make some progress toward that end in Sky Raiders, but there’s plenty more to accomplish in the next volume of THE FIVE KINGDOMS.
... Read More

Rogue Knight: Middle Grade readers will love this

Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull

Rogue Knight, book two of Brandon Mull’s FIVE KINGDOMS series, continues the story about Cole, the boy who took his friends to a haunted house on Halloween and unwittingly caused them all to be sold into slavery in another universe. (Ouch.) Cole managed to escape slavery, but he’s racked with guilt, and now, with the help of some friends he’s made in The Outskirts, which consists of the five kingdoms of this series’ title, he hopes to eventually save his friends.

Cole is currently in Elloweer, the second of the Five Kingdoms (you can probably guess that there will be five books in this series). He’s tagging along with Mira, a princess who’s hiding from her father, the King, because her father wants to steal her magic for himself. Mira is trying to find her sisters who are also in hiding so they can work together to overthrow their evil father. Cole... Read More

Crystal Keepers: An exciting installment in this fun middle grade series

Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull

Crystal Keepers (2015) is the third of five installments in Brandon Mull’s FIVE KINGDOMS series for kids. It follows Sky Raiders and Rogue Knight, which you’ll want to read first. There are a couple of spoilers for those novels in this review.

The story is about some middle grade kids who went to a haunted house on Halloween and were kidnapped and sold into slavery in a parallel universe called the Outskirts or the Five Kingdoms. Cole Randolph, a classmate of the kidnapped kids, managed to hide from the kidnappers and follow his friends into the Outskirts. He’s been trying to find them, save ... Read More

Death Weavers: Finally, some answers

Death Weavers by Brandon Mull

Death Weavers (2016) is the fourth of five novels in Brandon Mull’s FIVE KINGDOMS series. This is a fun adventure that I’d recommend for middle grade readers. You’ll want to read the first three books, Sky Raiders, Rogue Knight, and Crystal Keepers, before picking up Death Weavers. I’ll assume you’ve read them and I may include minor spoilers for those earlier installments in this review.

Cole and his companions continue to visit each of the kingdoms in the Outskirts a... Read More

Time Jumpers: A satisfactory ending to this MG fantasy series

Time Jumpers by Brandon Mull

Anyone who’s read the first four installments of Brandon Mull’s FIVE KINGDOMS series for middle graders will undoubtedly want to read the fifth and concluding volume, Time Jumpers (2018). We all want to know if Cole and his friends will be able to escape the Outskirts and return home, and we want to know if the kids’ families and friends will still remember them!

This time Cole is visiting the last of the five kingdoms: Creon. Here he will confront the high king (whose daughters he’s been rescuing as he travels around the five kingdoms), attempt to stop an evil shaper from destroying the world, and investigate a rumor suggesting there may be a way to get himself and his friends home and restore their parents’ memories.

In Time Jumper... Read More