The Kindling (Middle School Magic) by Braden Bell
Published by Cedar Fort Books
Format: ARC/Ebook (part of a two book pack – Penumbras review to follow)
2.5-3 out of 5 stars (I’m undecided!)
Middle School Magic, sounds fun right? 13 year old twins Connor and Lexa and their best friend Melanie start noticing strange things happening, like the school bully’s pants catching fire, and all the dogs in town dropping dead at the same instant. There’s a creepy guy following them around and the teachers are acting WEIRD. They soon discover they are going through the ‘kindling’ – their magic (which isn’t magic, despite the title, but the manipulation of light, as in light and dark, not what you get from the sun) is emerging, and they need to find out who they can trust in order to control it, and who will protect them from the dark agents sent to stop them.
I’m really torn about the book, my son who is in the target age range gave up on it, he couldn’t get drawn in, and I have to agree. On the surface the ingredients are all there, but I struggled to care about the plot, the characters and the book itself. Had I not of been asked to review I may have given up on it earlier, as it was I was finding other things to do than read it.
There is nothing WRONG with the book, nothing at all, the writings good, the plot light enough not to worry parents but dark enough to entertain the young readers. I think the problem lies with its predecessors, I felt that it offers nothing we haven’t seen in Potter, Septamus Heap or Percy Jackson, sure the idea is slightly different but it does seem a little like the three books merged and put into middle school.
The story gets better as it goes along, warming up as the danger starts becoming real, and I did like the fact that the kids were kept kids and the triumphs and failures were spread across the three, no hero complexes, they need each other, which is nice.
I’m going to leave it as a three star, but I do wonder what future the series has if the target audience don’t believe it, I will get my son to try the sequel, see if its a better fit for him, and let you know how we get on!
ARC/ebook kindly provided by the author and publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.