The Five Kingdoms series
By: Brandon Mull
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
One thing’s for sure: Brandon Mull knows how to write for kids.
Fablehaven. Beyonders. The Candyshop Wars.
Five Kingdoms? Yep. It’s a winner–at least, it is if you can get past the annoying to embrace the fun.
The Five Kingdoms is a five-book series:
Book 1: Sky Raiders
Book 2: The Rogue Knight
Book 3: Crystal Keepers
Book 4: Death Weavers
Book 5: Time Jumpers
Cole is 11 and perfectly normal–until he and his friends get kidnapped and taken through a portal into another world. (Sound a little similar to Beyonders? Ya, I thought so too.)
In the Outskirts, slavery is legal and slaves from Earth are a hot commodity due to their likelihood of manifesting the magical power that exists there. Cole manages to escape, make new friends, discover his power, and become the Outskirts only hope to avoid certain destruction. Bonus points if he’s able to discover a way to get himself and all his friends home, too.
Without dieing, of course.
The series is packed with cool stuff that the under-14 crowd will love. Castles floating on clouds. Magic swords. Evil kings. Lost princesses. Giant robot dragons. Sentient robots. Knights. Shape shifters. Ghosts. Magic powers. Time travel. High tech battle armor. Teleportation. Artificial Intelligences. Jokes. Heroes. Mysteries. Twists. Red herrings. Battles. Crushes. More, more and more. Fun overload, seriously.
It’s also packed with annoying stuff that might drive grown-up readers slowly insane…
Lose ends. Too many characters. Over-simplified solutions. Easy answers. Awful decisions.
Repeating plot lines. Dead doesn’t mean dead. Non-stop narration of everything that happens in Cole’s brain.
For 2,357 pages.
These things made the first couple books hard to read. I knew the fun was there, so I kept going because a fun story will nearly always trump all in the end. And it did.
In the end fun won me over.
The Five Kingdoms will be a fun read for kids who love adventure. That should be all of them, shouldn’t it? The main character is a boy, but there are strong girl characters as well. The kids in the story are 11 years old (and act like it), and are accessible to a broad age group. Adults who can embrace the fun and ignore the lame will enjoy these books too.
I’ll be recommending them to my kids.