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

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Never War by D.J. MacHale YA fantasy audiobook reviewsThe 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 to the next territory: First Earth. When they arrive on First Earth, Bobby is amazed to realize that they’re in the New York City of 1937! They are picked up by the Traveler from First Earth, an older black man named Gunny who manages the bell hop operations at a swanky hotel in New York City. Soon, Bobby, Spader, and Gunny are embroiled in a gang war that involves Nazis and a very famous disaster. They’ll be helped by a beautiful singer and a female pilot.

The Never War is my favorite PENDRAGON book so far (I’ve read the first five). The 1937 NYC setting is fun and I like the fact that it will give teenage readers a glimpse of that time in history. They’ll learn a little about the period’s architecture, transportation, social customs, racism and sexism, as well as some of the tensions and events that led up to World War II. There are some warnings about the dangers of overpopulation and pollution. But there’s plenty of exciting action, too. Bobby gets to drive a car (he’s only 15), rappel down a tall building, jump out of a biplane with a parachute, and escape a burning slaughterhouse.

Personally, Bobby is dealing with grief after his Uncle’s death in the previous book, and he’s trying to control Spader, who is a bit hot-headed. He’s also worried about how their actions on First Earth may affect the future. In the end he has a very difficult moral dilemma. There are several times in this story where teenage readers will be forced to think about how seemingly small decisions they make can have major impacts on their own, and other people’s, future. The final scene, which reiterates this message, is sweet.

The main premise of the PENDRAGON books requires some extra suspension of disbelief, and The Never War has most of the same issues I’ve mentioned in my reviews of the previous books, but it has some nice subtle teaching moments and a real emotional impact. I also really like the addition of Gunny to the team.

William Dufris continues to do an excellent job with the narration of the audiobooks. The Never War is almost 10 hours long in audio format. I double the playback speed, though.

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…

book review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 1. The Merchant of Death 2. The Lost City of Faar 3. The Never War 4. The Reality Bug 5. Black Waterbook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 1. The Merchant of Death 2. The Lost City of Faar 3. The Never War 4. The Reality Bug 5. Black Waterbook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 1. The Merchant of Death 2. The Lost City of Faar 3. The Never War 4. The Reality Bug 5. Black Waterbook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 1. The Merchant of Death 2. The Lost City of Faar 3. The Never War 4. The Reality Bug 5. Black Waterbook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 1. The Merchant of Death 2. The Lost City of Faar 3. The Never War 4. The Reality Bug 5. Black Waterbook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 6. The Rivers of Zadaa 7. The Quillan Games 8. The Pilgrims of Rayne 9. Raven Risebook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 6. The Rivers of Zadaa 7. The Quillan Games 8. The Pilgrims of Rayne 9. Raven Risebook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 6. The Rivers of Zadaa 7. The Quillan Games 8. The Pilgrims of Rayne 9. Raven Risebook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 6. The Rivers of Zadaa 7. The Quillan Games 8. The Pilgrims of Rayne 9. Raven Rise 10. The Soldiers of Hallabook review D.J. MacHale Pendragon 6. The Rivers of Zadaa 7. The Quillan Games 8. The Pilgrims of Rayne 9. Raven Rise 10. The Soldiers of Halla

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.

Related book:

book review D.J. MacHale The Guide to the Territories of HallaThe 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.

 


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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