It should be no secret by now that I’m absolutely in love with the Pendragon series. I have been since I first read it in the eighth grade, and getting to experience the adventure all over again for my blog makes me giddily happy. These books will always come highly recommended from me, and you can bet that I will almost always write a raving review for them.
As much as I truly do love this series, this particular book is not perfect. Bobby’s voice isn’t very mature, and the third-person narration with Bobby’s best friends, Mark and Courtney, needs a lot of fleshing out. However, it’s been so long since I’ve read this book that I completely forget just about everything that happened, and it felt like reading it all again for the first time. It’s gripping, it’s engaging, it’s emotional—it’s everything a book should be, and though it might be wrong to talk about the future of the series in a review of the second book, I know that all the things I have issues with are resolved later in the series. (Which is hopefully a comfort to anyone deciding whether or not to continue the journey. Hint: You should.)
What I Liked: Spoilers!
- I love the characters in this book. When Bobby arrives on Cloral, we’re introduced to Spader, the new Traveler from the territory. Spader seems like a fun-loving and happy-go-lucky sort of guy (which, most times, he is), but the reader very quickly finds out how much depth he really has. The food on another habitat is poisoned and Spader’s father dies—and the affect it has on him enormous. I love these characters because none of them have only one side to them. Spader is introduced as one person to us, but we learn that he is also someone else, just like what Bobby is learning about himself. There are no “simple” characters. I love the depth to all of them, and they really make the story worth reading.
- I’m sure I said this in my review of the first book, but I love Bobby’s narration. His voice isn’t pretty and it’s not nearly as descriptive as some people would really like, but he’s supposed to be writing down things after they happen, in a journal. He does a really good job of telling his story while maintaining the attitude that it’s not happening right now—he’s remembering, and the stuff that stands out to him stands out to us as well. It all fits together really nicely, and while I do wish it were “cleaner” and that he would stop using words like “coolio” (heck, though, I think “coolio” was my favorite word when I was fourteen), it’s an incredibly enjoyable narration on almost every level.
- I have never read a story like this. There are lots of books about time travel and alternate dimensions and all that, but I have yet to read a series that is as carefully planned as Pendragon. Knowing what I know, I’m able to connect things now to what happens later, but even if I didn’t know all that, I remember asking myself questions and wondering about certain things going on. MacHale never gives you all the answers—nothing is ever really resolved. We don’t skip from one territory to the next, because everything is so beautifully intertwined. It’s so creative and wonderful to experience, especially since so many books nowadays are just rip offs of each other. That’s a big part of why I recommend this series so much. I feel like anyone could really enjoy it, because it’ll be unlike anything you’ve read.
What I Didn’t Like:
- I just didn’t enjoy everything as much as I did in the first book. And what is really bothering me is the Second Earth cut ins with Mark and Courtney. The third person parts are just uninteresting and rather flat. The end of the book with Mark having the journal stolen by long-time nemesis, Andy Mitchell, was resolved much too easily, and it was overly convenient. That section of the book needs a lot of work, and I can’t remember right now whether it gets much better later on, or if I just didn’t care when I initially read them all. Mark and Courtney themselves still feel a little flat, and I look forward to getting to their depth later in the series. However, for right now, that’s what really kept this from being a five-star read for me.
Overall: I will always, always recommend this series. I think they’re fantastic, and the second book is just as engaging as the first one. You’ll love getting to know Bobby and seeing what he sees and learning what he learns. You’ll love the adventure, and you’ll love finally experiencing something new in a book. This is honestly a great book/series for anyone of any age, and will be especially engaging for middle-grade/high-school boys who don’t enjoy reading. But hey, I’m a girl and a college-student, so don’t think you won’t love it just because you don’t fit that particular demographic! I definitely look forward to reading book three soon!