The Kindling by Braden Bell
Age Range: 9 and up
Series: Middle School Magic
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sweetwater Books (July 10, 2012)
Source: Author for review
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
About the Book:
All thirteen-year-old Connor Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play
lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens, but when a run-in with the
school bully ignites strange powers inside him, Connor’s normal teenage
life goes up in flames. Now he’ll need his new powers to defeat the
Darkness that’s coming for him. Fast-paced and original, this book’s
guaranteed to keep you guessing!
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About the Author:
Braden Bell holds a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York
University. He and his family live on a quiet, wooded lot in Tennessee,
where he teaches middle school theatre and music. An experienced
performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long
walks with the dog.
I liked this book much more than I expected to! It is action packed, but
not particularly violent. There are lots of fights and battles, but the author has managed to keep it clean and appropriate for
the age group. The story is suspenseful
and exciting, and middle school kids will love it.
Much of this book fits into the standard for middle grade fantasy
novels. There is the eternal struggle of good vs evil, the main character(s)
wake up one day with strange and amazing abilities, and they must fight to
save the world. The story may not be a new one, but Bell delivers it
with humor and thought.
The characters, while typical of these kinds of novels, are very likable
and you can’t help but find yourself cheering along for them. Conner,
Lexa, and Melanie are average kids that discover an existence that is
anything but ordinary. They rise to the challenge
and become better as they do so. The teachers are also very
entertaining, especially Dr. Timberi.
Ultimately, this is the kind of book that will be loved by most kids that read it.
Cover: I’m actually not a big fan of this cover. I don’t think it really
captures the book that well and I think there are so many other, better
possibilities for a great cover.