Book review of The Kindling by Braden Bell—First book in the Middle School Magic Trilogy.
Full disclosure: I don’t normally think of fantasy as a genre I enjoy reading. Of course I loved Harry Potter, but in general, fantasy isn’t my first thought when I want to pick up something to read. So, when Braden asked me to review his latest book, I really hoped I would like it.
Because I absolutely loved Braden’s first book, The Road Show. It was one of those soul-changers. I knew The Kindlng would be a different ball game, being written for and about middle-schoolers and also being in that fantasy genre, but Braden is such a good writer I knew I didn’t have to worry too much.
So, I read it, and I loved it, and I’m already waiting for the sequel. I have started reading it to my kids, and had hoped to have it finished with them by the time my review was due, but life has been too insane and we’re only a third of the way through. However, my kids love the story. My middle daughter especially is dying to know what happens and talks about it fairly often.
The best thing about this book is that Braden manages to write a fun book that is very appealing to the age group it is written for while still including poignant lessons about good vs. evil and light vs.darkness. The second best thing about this book is the fight between the good guys and the bad guys that takes place in Disneyland on the Small World ride. So much fun!
And really? When the first sentence of a book is, “Conner Dell didn’t mean to set anyone’s gym shorts on fire,” you know it’s going to pull you right in, magic or no.
A quick sum-up: Conner Dell, his twin sister, Lexa, and their friend Melanie have discovered they have special powers. And, a scary stalker guy that nobody else can see is following them. Then all of their middle school teachers are out to get them. What are three middle-schoolers to do?
You’ll have to read it and find out.
You can buy a copy of the book here. And once you’ve read it, you can sit on pins and needles for the sequel, like I am.
Buy it for your kids, and read it yourselves. It’s a book the whole family will love.