I finished reading The Merchant of Death (Pendragon) by D.J. MacHale a few weeks ago but didn’t get around to reviewing it until now.
I originally read it back when I was a librarian clerk and had access to the whole series. I loved it the first time, so when I saw it was available on the Overdrive app, I thought it’d be fun to listen to at work.
It was just as good the second time around as it was the first time!
A Quick Look at the Plot
Bobby Pendragon is a normal 14 year old boy. He is popular, is on the basketball team, and just kissed Courtney – the girl he’s been crushing on for years.
But, when his uncle comes and whisks him away to another world known as Denduron, Bobby’s perfect life is turned upside down. He learns he is a traveler, chosen to keep realms from turning into chaos. And now, he has to learn how to use his new-found abilities to protect the Milago people from the neighboring Bedoowan.
My Experience With the Book
This is the second time I’ve read the book, but it was the first time I actually listened to the whole thing. The audio book provided a fun new perspective to a great story, and I loved hearing the voice actor’s take on the characters. I had imagined the voices a little differently, but it was still interesting to hear the narrator do his thing.
I love how the characters feel like real kids wanting to do real things. Bobby may be a mystical traveler, but he also wants to go home, play with his dog Marley, and spend time with his family. Given the opportunity to go home, Bobby is more than willing to jump at the chance. On the other hand, Bobby also has great morals – he’s willing to put his life at risk if it means helping those he cares about. While he’s no action-hero, Bobby’s creativity and smarts makes him a fun protagonist even if he’d likely lose a hand-to-hand fight. It’s interesting to see which areas he comes short in and how he learns to develop those weaknesses into strengths.
Also, the action is intense enough to keep even short-attention span readers engaged without being overwhelming. There are plenty of times when the characters are given the chance to rest, but there’s always something going on – whether it’s an intriguing new piece of information, a new character being introduced, or an all-out war between two tribes.
Anyways, I’m impressed with this series of books. The characters are developed, and the action is well paced. If you need a new series to start, then the Pendragon series is the way to go.
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