Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: Sky Raiders

Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level. 

After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them and ends up in The Outskirts. The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds. 

And once you come to the Outskirts, it's very hard to leave. 
With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it's up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home before his existence is forgotten.  Quoted from Goodreads


Ever since the Fablehaven phenomena, I've been a big Brandon Mull fan, so, of course, I had to check out his new series.  I'll admit, I was a little bit scared because I didn't feel like The Beyonders, while good, was nearly as good as Fablehaven, so I was interested to see how this book would turn out.  I was delightfully surprised. I thought maybe each series would get progressively worse, but I think I enjoyed Sky Raider's more than any book in The Beyonder's series, and if Mull holds true to form, each book in this series will get progressively more and more interesting, so I'm excited.

Brandon Mull is such a creative writer, and he proves it once more in Sky Raiders. Again we have a boy from our world sucked into a fantastical journey in a land that has different rules  and dangers than anything we face here.  Beyond that, they're different from anything I've encountered in other books as well. I love the world building.  Everything is unique, creative, and essential to the plot.

I really enjoyed all the characters.  Cole is a well crafted protagonist, and the supporting characters are just as strong. Plus, all the action has a point. We don't get a fancy, creative fight or monster for no reason. Each obstacle thrown in the characters path reveals something about them or affects them later on. It's also rather refreshing to read some middle grade and get away from the YA angst once in a while. Sure, Cole likes Jenna. There are several other crushes in the book as well, but that is not one of the top ten driving forces propelling our characters in their decisions.  

As for the action, it's awesome.  Like I mentioned before, we have a very creative world for our character to deal with, and it comes with it's own host of problems. Basically, this is one of those quick read books, not because it's sort (432 pages), but because you never really get a breather where you can put it down, sure that your characters are safe.

All in all this is a delightful 4 stars for me.  It's a great beginning to a new series, and the best part is that book 2 comes out in October, so i don't even have to wait that pesky year to see what happens next.

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