Almost exactly one year ago, I reviewed The Kindling, which is the first book in Braden Bell’s Middle School Magic series. I had been unsure if I would like it, since fantasy is not my favorite genre and I generally don’t read it.

I was wrong—I really liked it.  I have been waiting on pins and needles for this second installment because I was dying to know what would happen and have some questions answered.

So I was actually kind of bummed that Braden sent me the digital copy in the middle of my whirlwind last couple of months, because I had to wait to read it. But as soon as I started the book, I couldn’t put it down and finished in a matter of hours.

The adventures of Conner and Lexa Dell and their friend Melanie Stephens continued—this time the book begins with Conner blowing up a school bus (but he didn’t mean to!) and the excitement only gets better.  Questions from the last book are indeed answered, and the fight between Light and Dark continues with some surprising twists and turns.

I love the way Braden has explored the light and dark, good and evil that exist within ourselves. The fight between light and dark isn’t ever as clear cut as the bad guys vs. the good ones. We all have the potential to choose either light or darkness, and I love the way this book teaches that. (And, I may be wrong, but I’m guessing the third book is going to further that theme by teaching us that even if we initially choose darkness, we can always come back to the light.)

My middle daughter loved the first book so much that I ended up buying her hard copies of both books last week. She was so excited to hear that there was a second installment. I love the fact that it is an exciting book that keeps her entertained, but that leads to some gospel-centered conversations every time we discuss it.

I highly recommend this series—-both for you and your children! It’s absolutely delightful. And, of course, I am waiting with great anticipation for the next installment. I’d even be willing to stand in line at a bookstore at midnight dressed up as Dr. Timberi if it meant I could read it faster.

You can buy The Kindling here, and you can buy Penumbras here. 

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Braden Bell

I am laughing and laughing at that last paragraph. That. Is. Awesome! Thank you, Lara. I might have even choked up a bit.


My son was just trying to find a good book. I'll recommend this one to him. Thanks.